Severn Trent Environmental ServicesTakes Oklahoma Contract from US Filter
10-Year Project Valued at Over $12 Million
Labor's Satisfaction Major Motivation

Dana Kaas, VP Operations, Severn Trent Environmental ServicesMustang -- More than a dozen public works employees won’t have to worry about losing their jobs despite a city council decision to end an eight-year relationship wit US Filter and turn public works management over to Houston-based Severn Trent Environmental Services.

Mustang is believed to be only Oklahoma city to contract out virtually all its public works duties to a single private management company.

The council voted Tuesday toward the public works contract to Severn Trent in a move that will save the city about $1.5 million if the city and company can reach a 10-year contract agreement.

Severn Trent’s base bid for services was $1,237,978 per year, compared to a $1,388,00 bid by U.S. Filter.

The council authorized City Manager Huey P. Long to begin negotiating a long-term contract with Severn-Trent. Long said the city would try to reach a 10-year deal.

Dana Kaas, Vice President for Operations of Severn Trent, earlier this week assured all existing employees of US Filter in Mustang. Kaas said all of those employees would have the option of taking another position at U.S. Filter or joining the Severn-Trent work force.

Kaas said he was impressed by the city’s concern for the existing work force if the city chose to accept Severn-Trent’s bid.

"The thought that was foremost in their minds was how do we treat our employees," Kaas said.

David Gentry, who oversees Severn Trent projects in Chickasha, and will manage the Mustang operation, as well, added "We’re extremely pleased. We feel like the Mustang contract is a great addition to our company, and we look forward to working with the city manager and the city council to serve Mustang."

Severn Trent’s first official day on the job will be July 1. But the company will need to install some equipment and be involved in other activities in the city during the transition period, Gentry said.

As the new public works provider, Severn Trent will be responsible for animal control, fleet maintenance, park maintenance, water and sewer line maintenance, water and sewer treatment and road repairs.

Long said he was confident Severn-Trent would serve the city well.

"We spent about a week looking at five different Severn Trent projects around the country, and we found a level of consistency in service delivery from the smallest projects t the larger ones," Long said.

"We’ve talked to company employees at random, mayors and councils for other cities. We’re pleased with high level of service."

Mustang has contracted out public works services for eight years now, Long said, because it’s a better way to spend taxpayer dollars. Long said the decision to put the contract out to competitive bid was to make sure the city was getting the most for its money.

Calls to a U.S. Filter spokesman were not returned.