ST. LOUIS — The leader of St. Louis' refuse division is off the job while he is being investigated by the city's personnel department, sources familiar with the personnel process said.
Refuse Commissioner Todd Waelterman was placed on leave while the personnel department reviews complaints about his tenure, sources told 5 On Your Side Political Editor Mark Maxwell.
Waelterman became the city's refuse commissioner in May of 2021. He was previously the city's labor leader, a position with responsibility for departments including the Board of Public Service, Public Safety, Streets, Refuse, Parks/Recreation/Forestry, Fire, Building, Water and Airport.
The refuse division has struggled to keep up with alleyway pick-up of trash and recycling due to a worker shortage. The city is offering $3,000 signing bonuses in an effort to boost hiring.
For a June 23 story, 5 On Your Side reached out to city hall to find out what's causing the delays in clearing dumpsters. A spokesperson of Mayor Tishaura Jones said the city is currently short roughly 10 refuse drivers before adding the following:
“The Refuse Division works hard to honor its commitment of picking up alleyway trash and recycling each at least once per week, using data to guide pickup strategies. The City has been aggressively working to hire and retain Refuse drivers as well as maintain its limited fleet of collection trucks, while also combatting issues like illegal dumping and the theft of hooks from dumpsters. The city encourages residents to report damaged dumpsters, missing hooks, or other trash issues to the Citizens Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.”