(BALTIMORE – August 28, 2020) – Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just this week, one Solid Waste employee, identified as Donald Savory, actually died on the job. Further, the City was hard-pressed to find contractors to assist – particularly given the amount of work in Baltimore alleys. However, one local firm, R. E. Harrington & Sons, not only answered the call. They’ve also doubled-down to take over operations.
It should be noted that R. E. Harrington, whose trucks can be seen all over town, is a Black-owned firm run by one of Baltimore’s most prolific businessmen, Robert Harrington, Sr.
While Harrington is usually handling plumbing, heating and utilities contracts around the city and is widely regarded as the premier locally-based underground utility contractors for Greater Baltimore, he saw the City’s needs and answered the call.
Truth be told, DPW has been struggling for weeks as multiple employees tested positive for coronavirus. WBAL TV 11 reported that Acting DPW Director Matthew Garback has even had to halt recycling collection starting Monday.
But, as the saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ Harrington and his team, needless to say, are tough enough to handle the task at hand.
In an interview with Harrington, the President and CEO of R. E. Harrington, and Monique Smith (C.O.O.), both were remarkably enthusiastic about this new assignment. Further, this move may even create long-term employment opportunities for Baltimore residents. Both laborers and drivers are needed.
Harrington told Bmorenews that he was approached by some local Project Managers and asked if he could assist the City during these turbulent times. His reply? “I said ‘yes’. No problem!”
Before taking over the quarantine landfill operations, he said that several things needed attention. One was sanitizing the equipment. This was crucial. So a local minority firm, A&A Quality Cleaning, was called to sanitize all of the equipment that would be used including trucks, frontend loaders, dozers, excavators and compactors. Additionally, Jesco, a John Deere company, also played a major role in supplying R. E. Harrington equipment needed on short notice, along with one of Harrington’s major equipment suppliers of construction equipment for the last 25 years.
“We sanitized everything,” said Harrington. “We also supplied fuel.”
This is where Harrington reached out to another minority firm, J. J. Adams Fuel, who’ll supply fuel for both Harrington’s vehicles and the City’s as well.
Harrington added, “We also have supplied all workers with hand sanitizers, masks, and shields.”
Photo: Bmorenews publisher interviewing Robert Harrington at his office. Harrington has been a strong contributor to the City and small businesses throughout the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area for years.
Smith said, “We had to properly secure our team prior to mobilization.”
Harrington stated that the City is “going to provide us with their trash trucks and a supervisor. We’ll supply drivers, laborers, and equipment – like bobcats. Furthermore, we’ll also be cleaning alleys.”
Smith said, “This makes us really proud.”
Both Harrington and Smith agreed: “We want to see a clean city!”
A member of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, Harrington has been long-hailed as a champion for Black-owned businesses. He has won countless awards and has lent his expertise to DPW’s Small Business Development Program for local entrepreneurs for years.
“When I realized the situation the City was in, it only made me want to do more,” said Harrington.
The assignments could last two to three months and the City will provide training. These temporary jobs could potentially lead to permanent employment with Baltimore City.
“The workers will be paid a living wage scale,” said Harrington. “Lastly, a very special word of thanks to Matthew Garbark, John Chalmers and the entire DPW management staff for this opportunity. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
For more information on employment opportunities, visit www.reharrington.com.