Fort Smith hires Mark Schlievert as the city’s new sanitation boss

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 520 views 

Mark Schlievert, director of solid waste for water and sanitation operations in Berkeley County, S.C., has been hired to direct the city’s Department of Sanitation. Schlievert’s first day on the job is set for April 18, 2016, and his annual salary is $85,000.

“Mr. Schlievert’s technical background in landfill management really stands out. He demonstrated knowledge and ability in all aspects of solid waste management, and his ability to successfully plan and manage a landfill and provide for its sustainability helped to convince me he was the right individual for the job,” noted a Friday afternoon statement from Acting City Administrator Jeff Dingman.

The Berkeley County operation is a public utility providing water, waste water and sanitation for 175,000 residents. The operation employs 237, with 77 of those in the solid waste/sanitation division. He was first hired in the job in 2000, but took a break between 2002-2004 to move back to Iowa to be closer to an ill parent. He returned to the Berkeley County job in 2004.

“Schlievert demonstrated major accomplishments in the permitting of MSW Sub-Title D landfills, vertical expansions for both C&D, and MSW landfills, groundwater management, wetlands management, landfill gas-to-energy projects, Title V air quality monitoring/permitting, landfill heavy equipment maintenance programs, employee motivational incentives, and budget/cost saving programs,” noted the Fort Smith statement.

Mark Schlievert
Mark Schlievert

Schlievert earned a bachelor’ degree in engineering geology from the University of Iowa, and an associate’s degree in construction technology from Iowa Central Community College.

According to info from Dingman, Schlievert is a professional geologist with 44 years of experience in inspection, design, and project management of construction projects, and more than 20 years in solid waste operations. He is from Iowa, and served 13 years as combat engineer and construction diver with the U.S. Army Engineers.

“I am looking forward to serving as Director of Sanitation for the City of Fort Smith,” Schlievert said in the city’s statement. “I was very impressed with how clean the city was during my visit, a testament to the community’s commitment to excellence.”

In 2006, the landfill of North Iowa agreed to pay a former employee $350,000 related to a discrimination action against the landfill. In 2002, landfill employee Robert Wilcox, then 58, hurt his shoulder on the job and had surgery. He had been with the landfill for 31 years and was a senior equipment operator, according to this Globe Gazette report.

“According to his suit, before the surgery, Mark Schlievert, who was then director of the landfill, repeatedly asked Wilcox if he was going to retire. Schlievert also reportedly told Wilcox he would be worthless after he returned from the surgery,” the Gazette noted in the story.

Although a doctor cleared Wilcox to return to work, Schlievert blocked his return and said the position had been eliminated, noted the Gazette story.

The dates in the Gazette story match the time when Schlievert noted in his resumé he was head of the North Iowa landfill. When asked by Talk Business & Politics if he was the same same person involved in the discrimination lawsuit the landfill of North Iowa, Schlievert said he had “not been involved in any discrimination law suite (sic) anywhere.”

The Fort Smith Department of Sanitation director job drew 33 applicants, with 11 from the metro area and seven from Fort Smith. The sanitation director oversees a department with an almost $10 million annual budget and 78 employees. The job had a pay range between $66,574 to $104,809, with Schlievert’s pay almost in the middle of the range.

The job has been open since Dec. 7 when Dingman fired Baridi Nkokheli “for violation of personnel policies and the code of business conduct.” Nkokheli, who held the job for more than 10 years and was a popular re-enactor of legendary U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, said reasons for his termination are unfounded and he plans legal action against the city. Dingman said the violations were serious enough to warrant sudden dismissal and would stand up under scrutiny.

Doug Reinert, the city’s director of Parks & Recreation and interim director of Sanitation, will manage the sanitation department until Schlievert arrives.