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Schneider steps in to direct solid waste

Jeff Schneider's new job with the city of Red Wing places him on the hot seat.

Red Wing's new deputy public works director is aware the city's incinerator, which he now oversees, has lost money in recent years and has become a target for some disgruntled citizens.

On Monday Schneider introduced himself to the City Council.

Council members were glad to have him on board. Carol Duff said at a recent conference she attended Schneider was the envy of numerous city leaders from across the state.

"'You got Jeff? How did you get Jeff?'" Duff said, quoting the response from other city officials.

Schneider, a Rochester native, boasts a strong background and should be able to hit the ground running.

He worked at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency before coming to Red Wing.

His last position with the agency was as the state's recycling coordinator, a position where he encouraged cities to increase recycling efforts, provided them with technical assistance and helped them develop plans.

Furthermore, Schneider is familiar with Red Wing.

As a solid waste planner -- a previous position he held within the MPCA -- Schneider was involved in a crafting a memorandum of understanding aimed at resolving solid waste issues between the Red Wing and Goodhue County.

Schneider said his recent career move allows him to get hands-on.

"It was an opportunity to put all those years of theories into practice -- to walk the walk," he said.

But of all the towns in Minnesota, why did he pick Red Wing?

"It's the only city in the state with an integrated (solid waste) system from collection to disposal." he said.

As for helping turn around the incinerator's financial performance -- which hinges on bringing in and processing more garbage at the plant -- Schneider says it will take some time and effort.

But he's a firm believer in incineration over dumping. He says it's the more responsible thing to do.

"We've got to be aware of what we're leaving to the next generation," he said.

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