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Babylon Town garbage bid being challenged

Babylon Town's residential garbage company is asking the town to reject another firm's bid for a new garbage contract because it is represented by a former town official.

In a letter obtained by Newsday, Garden City attorney Ronald Goldman wrote on behalf of Babylon Source Separation Inc. (BSSI) of West Babylon, objecting to the bid of Winters Brothers of Westbury. The bid is one of six -- including one from BSSI -- in response to a request for proposals. BSSI's current residential contract expires in October.

In the letter, Goldman says Peter Casserly's affiliation with Winter Bros., after having been a Babylon Town official, "is a conflict of interest and taints the entire bid process with concerns of favoritism and bias."

Goldman cites the town's ethics code and states that the town "has a duty to avoid even the appearance of impropriety" and the possible questioning of "the integrity or impartiality of Town officials or the process in which this Contract is awarded."

Tim Ruggeri, town spokesman, said the town attorney is evaluating the letter but that negotiations with the bidders, to start next week, will proceed.

Casserly, who also has a consulting contract with the town for construction issues, is retired from a 35-year career with the town. He has been an Amityville Village trustee for nearly 30 years. For four years, he has been director of government affairs for Winters Brothers, the town's commercial garbage hauler.

Goldman did not address Casserly's consulting work with the town, which Casserly said "has absolutely nothing to do with garbage-related issues." Casserly said he will have "absolutely no involvement with any of the [residential garbage] negotiations." He could not recall if was involved in similar negotiations with the town two years ago. Casserly said "everybody has past lives," which is why the town set up an independent committee to evaluate the bids.

The three-member committee, each of whom is paid $250 an hour by the town, is made up of experts in waste management who do not work for the town, although one member's company has had town contracts.

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