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New Mid-Coast waste facility manager's past employment history discussed

By Susan Mustapich | Jul 13, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich The new Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation facility manager will have many tasks, including finalizing a closure plan for the landfill, and the more immediate issue of preventing landfill fires.

ROCKPORT — Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corp. representatives said they have knowledge of information about new facility manager Tokunboh-Baridi Nkokheli's prior employment that was the subject of online comments by Village Soup subscribers who had googled Nkokheli's name.

The information that Nkokheli was fired in 2015 from his position as director of the Fort Smith, Ark., Department of Sanitation is the subject of news stories posted online in 2015 and 2016 by news organizations based in Arkansas.

Nkokheli was hired by the MCSWC Board of Directors July 8 to oversee operations at its facility on Union Street in Rockport, which also serves the towns of Camden, Hope and Lincolnville. He plans to move to the area in August, and his contract begins Aug. 26, according to a press release.

Several MCSWC board and Executive Committee members said July 12 that they were aware of the 2015 firing, because Nkokheli brought it up when he was interviewed; it was discussed and vetted by the Personnel Committee, which recommended his hiring.

Camden Town Manager and MCSWC Executive Committee member Audra Caler-Bell, Hope Town Administrator and Executive Committee member Samantha Mank, and Camden Select Board Chairman and MCSWC board member Bob Falciani all concurred that Nkokheli was one of two top candidates who were interviewed several times. The top two candidates visited the Rockport facility, MCSWC Board members personally checked both candidates' references, and the candidates submitted to background checks performed by the Camden Police Department.

MCSWC Personnel Committee and board member Alison McKellar said the board looked into Nkokheli's past employment. "We were provided with additional information that made everyone feel good that we're hiring someone of integrity and somebody that we can definitely put our faith in," she said. "We appreciated he brought up the information and was very candid with us and was willing to share," she said.

McKellar said she has walked the grounds of the transfer station with Nkokheli and "he's really knowledgeable and thoughtful, and knows what's he's talking about."

Nkokheli is currently landfill superintendent of the Department of Public Works in Baltimore, where he has worked since 2017. He was previously director of the Department of Sanitation in Fort Smith, Ark., from 2005 to 2015, and assistant  director of the Department of Solid Waste Management in Durham, N.C., from 1999 to 2005.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jul 14, 2019 16:53

WOW! I see your point Dale and also wonder why this candidate was not vetted more carefully.

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