"Why would we want 100 more tons of stuff [from the state] to take to Beckley to lose money?" he said.
Solid waste officials are slowly moving toward privatizing the county recycling program. A summer intern studying recycling for the authority suggested that most successful recycling programs have a public education component and a private company to haul, sort and process recyclables.
Gunter visited a recycling center in Ohio interested in taking Kanawha County's materials earlier this month. Solid waste officials want to eventually send out bid proposals to private haulers to collect the county's recyclables.
Also Tuesday, Sayre defended himself against a complaint filed with the West Virginia Ethics Commission accusing him of using his position to influence the state Solid Waste Management Board.
Earlier this month, the director of the Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority filed an ethics complaint, alleging Sayre is using his position as a lobbyist and executive director of the West Virginia Association of Waste Haulers and Recyclers in a battle with Nicholas County solid waste officials. Sayre suggests the complaint goes back to a seven-year dispute with the director over management of the Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority.
Sayre was appointed by the Department of Environmental Protection to serve on the board of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority. Other members of the board have been leery ever since of the potential conflict of interest in having a lobbyist and employee of private industry helping make decisions about a public recycling program.
Solid Waste Authority Chairwoman Kay Summers said she has been very clear with Sayre about which hat he is wearing during authority meetings. Board members said he has been good about recusing himself from decisions that involve his clients.
"I found it odd that Greg was on our board," said board member Kasey Russell. "It's a blatant conflict of interest, but he was appointed by the DEP."
However, Russell said she has seen no evidence that Sayre has not acted in the best interests of the board. "Maybe you've got a private agenda, but I don't think so," she said.
Board members conceded Sayre knows a lot about recycling. With the appointment of Sayre, "My first thought was, 'What were they thinking?'" said board member Richard Milam. "But I think we're better off with you here than without you."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.