Dumpster fire: Former manager of trash district allegedly made unauthorized payments of public money
Raymond Pickles, the former consultant manager of the Carver, Marion and Wareham trash disposal district spent $19,000 of public funds without authorization, officials said during a meeting of the district's oversight committee on Wednesday.
“There was a payment of $19,000 that was made by Mr. Pickles before he left that he was authorized by the board not to pay,” Carver Town Administrator Michael Milanoski said. “But he did pay it anyway on his own without the authorization of the board.”
Moss Hollow Management, a largely one-man consultancy owned by Pickles—who also serves as Marion’s town clerk—had run the trash disposal district for many years until the district severed ties with the company in February amid rising costs. Moss Hollow Management's contract with the towns had long expired, but Pickles had continued his work without one.
The district, which allows the three member towns to jointly contract with waste-to-energy facility SEMASS in Rochester, operates transfer stations in the three towns.
“The board specifically directed Ray not to make the payment. It was specifically stated,” Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson added.
The payment in question was made in January to a former district employee, Edward Florindo, Dawson said after the meeting.
“Technically the payment of the $19,000 was also an illegal payment because the individual didn’t have the authorization of the board to pay it,” Milanoski said.
Florindo was led to believe by Pickles that he would be able to cash-in vacation and sick days after he retired, Dawson said. A 2012 district audit, however, explicitly states that those days must be used by employees or forfeited, Milanoski noted.
Citing the 2012 audit, Milanoski said the payment to Florindo should not have exceeded $11,683.
“No one is questioning how hard the former employee worked or how dedicated he was, but there’s a fiduciary responsibility that we have,” Milanoski said. “You can’t just give public money away.”
Dawson said that the committee will likely not take legal action to try to recuperate the $7,317 that officials believe was improperly paid because the legal fees necessary to do so would likely exceed that figure. He said legal action against Pickles however, is not off of the table.
The committee also agreed to spend $25,000 for a forensic audit of the district to be completed.
Pickles could not be reached for comment.