The City of Oslo, which contracted with a new private garbage collection agency last fall, is still facing a mound of complaints from city residents whose garbage isn’t being picked up. Now the politician in charge has fired the man responsible for selecting the new company, which may be replaced as well.
Pål Sommernes said he was resigning as director of the city’s Renovasjonsetaten “on the initiative” of top politician Lan Marie Nguyen Berg. Sommernes, age 59, will now take on “other duties” within the city after being replaced by Arild Sundberg, described by Berg as “one of our most experienced leaders” from the city’s finance department.
Berg, already dealing with the city’s controversial ban on diesel-driven vehicles this week, said it was “necessary” to change top management in order to “gain control” over garbage collection with “new forces.” The company Sommernes had hired, Veireno, has struggled to fulfill its obligations since taking over garbage collection from the city itself in October. In some residential areas, garbage hasn’t been collected for weeks and the city has a pile of around 28,000 complaints.
Veireno claims it has been working day and night to catch up with uncollected garbage, but then got in trouble with state labour authorities because employees were working too much overtime. Now Berg is under pressure to order the replacement of Veireno, with city government leader Raymond Johansen telling newspaper Aftenposten that a new contract was being prepared.