City terminates two contracts with American Sewer Services

Gun-brandishing workers, KKK sticker incidents last month prompt termination

Photo from Milwaukee Common Council

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:57 am

The city of Milwaukee has terminated two contracts with a contractor who employed gun-brandishing workers and an employee who brought a cooler to a work site with a Ku Klux Klan sticker.

Photo from Milwaukee Common Council

A $400,000 contract was terminated with Hartford-based American Sewer Services and the city has rejected a bid for another $400,000 contract with the company.

The city still has four contracts with American Sewer Services worth about $100,000 each, said Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban.

Korban said he did not want to terminate all of the contracts because the other four are nearing completion and logistically it would have been more cumbersome for the city to hire a new contractor.

“I also wanted the action to be punitive, but not exceed the level of behavior that took place by (American Sewer Services) employees,” Korban said.

American Sewer Services has been under scrutiny since a Dec. 4 photo showing three workers carrying guns while on a work site near North 19th Street and West Meinecke Avenue was shared on social media.

In the photo, two of the workers had their guns in holsters, while the third was holding a gun in his left hand.

On Dec. 8, another American Sewer Services worker brought a cooler with KKK and Confederate flag stickers to a job site. That worker and the man holding the gun were both fired.

On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously to terminate one contract with American Sewer Services and reject a bid with another unawarded contract.

During a Public Works committee meeting prior to the council vote, Korban said American Sewer Services agreed not to contest the settlement agreement reached with the city.

American Sewer Services has done work with the city for 37 years, Korban said. The city has had issues with the company off and on about the company’s quality of work but there is not a record of citizen complaints, Korban said.

Until the December incidents, American Sewer Services allowed employees to carry guns on the job, Korban said.

Get our email updates