HAMTRAMCK—As MPR readers may remember, a state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager runs the city government of Hamtramck. Such managers have state authority to run the day-to-day operations of a municipality, including the power to negotiate labor and service-provider contracts. Three years ago then-Gov. John Engler appointed Lou Schimmel to run the city of Hamtramck.
Since his appointment Schimmel has negotiated all city union contracts, sold assets, and contracted out all city Department of Public Works services. Schimmel’s work in Hamtramck was highlighted in MPR in 2002. This year, prior to the expiration of the city’s original 3-year contract with a private company for refuse collection, Schimmel issued a request for proposals from seven companies to pick up rubbish for the city. Rizzo Services of Warren, Mich. won the contract, which will shave 23 percent off the city’s current trash bill. And that trash bill is well over $1 million dollars less per year than Hamtramck was paying when it had city employees and equipment doing the trash work. Rizzo Services is a familiar vendor in Hamtramck, since it provides snow removal services for the city, as well.