Twenty of Annapolis' former solid waste employees were honored with a community leadership award at Monday night's City Council meeting.
"It's really one of the most thankless jobs we have in the city," said David Jarrell, the director of Public Works.
The Martha Wood Leadership Award is a monthly honor from the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis, and it's conferred upon citizens who work to make "our Housing Authority communities better."
City Council city trash and recycling services this June as part of its 2013 budget. City sanitation employees worked their last day on Friday, and Bates Trucking and Trash Removal started its new, once-a-week collection service on Monday.
"Over this last year when their jobs were uncertain ... they've always had a smile on their faces and really set a high standard professionally," Jarrell said. "I’m proud to have them in my department, and I really happy that most of them are going to stay in my department."
Mayor Josh Cohen pointed out the slew of phone calls and emails his office received from citizens who were concerned that the quality of their service would drop when collection was privatized.
"There’s a real appreciation for the quality of the job that you’ve done," Cohen said.
The 20 men and women honored by the city have a combined total of 228 years of sanitation experience. That's experience most of them will transfer to other positions within the Department of Public Works.
Vernon Brooks collected Annapolis' trash for 14 years and said he was happy when Friday afternoon rolled around.
"I knew my bones would feel better come Monday morning," Brooks said.
Trash collection is a physically demanding job, and Brooks said his new position as an equipment operator requires a lot less heavy lifting.
Troy Henson suspects his new city job, which includes pouring cement and removing snow, will be just as physically taxing as the 24 years he spent in trash collection. He said he never expected to work on a trash truck, but felt a little nostalgic as the era of public trash collection in Annapolis drew to a close.
Henson said, "I felt like I was missing something this morning."
The following former solid waste employees received the award:
• Phil Scrivener
• Mathew Contee
• Purnell Contee, Sr.
• Purnell Contee, Jr.
• Troy Henson
• Albert Johnson
• Timothy Nevin
• Michael Bannon
• Vernon Brooks
• Kevin Brown
• Robert Brown
• John Dorsey
• Clifton Gough
• Joseph Wallace
• Vernon Hicks
• Howard Johnson
• Travis Johnson
• Perry Hayes
• Nardar Jones
• Antonio Savage