Room service hospital meals help Kaiser Permanente Hawaii save $1.5M a year

Source: Matt Tuohy, Pacific Business News, August 20, 2014

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s Moanalua Medical Center has been saving about $1.5 million a year in food costs by bringing meal preparation in-house and allowing patients to choose when and what they want to eat as the first hospital in Hawaii to offer a room-service menu. The hospital, which until two years ago outsourced meal preparation to Aramark, changed its policy on food, along with other Kaiser hospitals across the country, to make sure patients got the food they wanted, when they wanted it.
The end result was a new kitchen and staff that take orders over the phone and prepare the meals as they’re needed. The hospital now spends about $1.1 million per year operating the kitchen, with about 18 full-time employees who take down orders from patients in a separate room and hand them off to the cooks who put the food together in an assembly line fashion. …

Parent company of Alabama prisons’ health care provider ‘speculative’ investment, investor service says

Source: Casey Toner, AL.com, July 30, 2014

The firm that owns the company the Alabama Department of Corrections hired to supply health care to its 25,000 inmates was labeled “speculative” and given a negative rating outlook last year by Moody’s Investor Service. A Moody’s report from September 2013 says that Valitas Health Services, the owner of ADOC health care supplier Corizon, faces “earnings pressure” following prison contract losses in Maine, Maryland, Tennessee (excluding mental health), and Pennsylvania. It says Valitas’ financial obligations are “subject to high credit risk.” The report calls Valitas the largest provider of prison health care and offers some hope for the firm’s future. “Recent business wins” are expected to inject money into the company in 2014, according to the report. However, Moody’s estimates that Valitas’ “competitive environment will remain challenging,” and the company’s “liquidity profile will remain weak.”…

….Previously, AL.com reported that two firms hiring the husband of the ADOC’s top healthcare official were hired by Corizon to X-ray Alabama’s inmates. State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he planned to meet with ADOC officials amid questions he had about the relationship and a lawsuit the Southern Poverty Law Center filed against the ADOC and others alleging inadequate health care for inmates…. Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company, a Chicago based private equity management firm, owns a majority of Valitas, a private company. Valitas reported revenue of about $1.2 billion for the year ending on June 30, 2013…..

Medicaid prisoners ‘devastating’ Carson-Tahoe Health’s bottom line

Source: Geoff Dornan, August 27, 2014

When the state decided to shift prison inmates to Medicaid to save the state on their health-care costs, no one asked what the impact would be on Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center. According to Carson Tahoe Health CEO Ed Epperson, the impact has been “devastating.” Lawmakers and the governor in 2013 decided to drop the Hometown Health plan they had used for years to cover inmate hospitalizations. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, state officials were told inmates could qualify for Medicaid coverage at a much lower rate. But Medicaid pays the hospital far less than the Hometown Health plan. …

Epperson said CTH gets about 85 percent of inmate hospitalizations in the northern half of the state, and more than any of the big hospitals in Southern Nevada. … Schardin said unless something is done, “you may be hearing about us not taking care of the prisoners because it’s devastating to our bottom line.” …

Boston Schools Re-up With Whitsons /Deal is for three years at $12.2 million a year

Source: Food Management, August 14, 2014

School meals in Boston Public Schools will be healthier and more locally-sourced this fall and students will have a regular role in planning menus as part of a new three-year food service contract with Whitsons Culinary Group. After a competitive review involving three main vendors, the BPS selected Whitsons for a $12.2 million annual contract to provide meals to BPS students.
In June, after an initial bid process, Mayor Martin Walsh and Interim Superintendent John McDonough directed potential vendors to strengthen and re-submit their proposals to the District.
Related:
Boston school systems scraps food vendor bids
Source: James Vaznis, Boston Globe, June 19, 2014

The Boston School Department tossed out all bids for a new food vendor contractor and is now seeking new proposals, city and school officials announced Wednesday. “After a thorough review of all the proposals we have received so far, including student taste tests, we believe we can still do better,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “We are directing vendors to go back to the drawing board and bring something new to the table, including more fresh salads, locally sourced options, and healthy choices that our students will look forward to every day.” The School Department received three bids: Whitsons Culinary Group of Islandia, N.Y.; Preferred Meals of Berkeley, Ill.; and Revolution Foods of Oakland, Calif. Whitsons has been the contractor for the past three school years, while Preferred Meals has done the summer food program for years and at one time held the school-year contract.

Calls continue to end prison food contract /Prison inspector suggests researching new vendors

Source: Jona Ison, Marion Star, August 23, 2014

The director of state prison inspections has recommended the state begin researching prison food vendors after a series of well-publicized incidents including maggots in food. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee this week received a compilation of preliminary recommendations submitted after a late July update on problems with Aramark. The food service vendor took over operations in Ohio’s prisons in September and has been fined a combined $272,200 for contract violations that came to a public head after reports of maggots in or around prison food….
Related:
Ohio prisons may invite food service inspections
Source: Associated Press, August 8, 2014

Ohio’s prisons agency is developing plans to invite local health inspections of each prison’s food service operations in the wake of complaints about problems including maggots in kitchen areas.

Prison director takes responsibility for some maggot problems
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, August 7, 2014

Union leaders and legislative aides were watching workers power-wash the kitchen of the Ohio Reformatory for Women yesterday afternoon when maggots floated out from beneath steel floor plates. Prisons Director Gary Mohr then told The Dispatch that his agency accepts shared responsibility with meal contractor Aramark Correctional Services for conditions that have spawned maggots at the Marysville prison. ….

Inmates protest maggots by throwing away lunches /Fly larvae were found under a stainless-steel serving line during a pre-meal inspection
Source: Norwalk Reflector/Columbus Dispatch, August 6, 2014

Protesting another discovery of maggots, about 1,000 inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville dumped their lunches in the trash yesterday. The fly larvae were found under a stainless-steel serving line during a pre-meal inspection, and the area was sanitized, said JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. However, after the report circulated among the 2,700 prisoners, about 1,000 women dumped their lunches, which consisted of macaroni and ham, coleslaw, greens, an apple and bread, she said. ….. The report of maggots was the second in the Marysville prison and the eighth confirmed case in a state prison this year. Maggots also were found yesterday on a shelf near the meal serving line at the Trumbull Correctional Institution near Warren in northeastern Ohio, Smith said. …

Lawmakers Hear About Food, Security Problems In Prisons Blamed On Private Vendor
Source: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio, July 30, 2014

There are problems with maggots, food shortages and contraband in state prisons, and the committee that inspects those facilities is blaming a private vendor hired by the prison system. The head of the state’s prison inspection team told lawmakers on the panel that oversees it Wednesday that there are problems with Aramark related to sanitation, food quality and supply, security training, staffing and documentation. ….. AJ Frame says he’s seen the maggot problem firsthand where he works as a corrections officer at the Noble Correctional Institution in southeast Ohio…… The Ohio Civil Service Employees Union says if the prisons department is spending resources to deal with these issues, it doubts Aramark is saving the state much money at all….

Ohio slaps 2nd fine on Aramark for prison food problems
Source: Associated Press, July 31, 2014

The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor – Philadelphia-based Aramark – that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio’s July 23 letter to the company….

Ohio prison director gives food vendor ultimatum after reports of maggots
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, July 31, 2014

Prison inmates are not going to give four stars to the food when the combined cost of their three daily meals amounts to less than the price of a Big Mac. However, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction director told lawmakers yesterday that its food-service vendor must clean up its act — and its food — or face the loss of its contract. Director Gary Mohr revealed that Aramark Correctional Services was fined $130,200 last week — on top of a previous $142,100 fine — for ongoing problems including lack of cleanliness, food shortages and other contract violations….

Legislative committee will hear update on complaints facing Ohio prisons food vendor
Source: Associated Press, July 30, 2014

The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio’s July 23 letter to the company….

Legislative committee to hear update on complaints facing Ohio prisons food vendor
Source: Associated Press, July 26, 2014

A legislative committee is getting updates on complaints facing the private food vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates. Reports indicate employees with Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services have repeatedly failed to provide food or run out of it since beginning work last September.

Maggots in food among new prison food complaints
Source: Associated Press, July 15, 2014

Maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of foods are among new complaints facing the vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates. Reports obtained by the Associated Press through records requests found numerous problems reported since April, when the state took the rare step of fining the vendor because of contract failures…At issue is a bigger national debate over privatizing prison services — from food preparation to the running of entire facilities — to save money at a time of squeezed state budgets. Proponents say private industry can often do the job more efficiently and more cheaply, unencumbered by union and administrative rules, while opponents say a focus on the bottom line leads to cutting corners that creates danger for inmates and employees….

Maggots in food, running out of food among new complaints facing Ohio prisons food vendor
Source: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press, July 15, 2014

Maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of foods are among new complaints facing the vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates. Reports obtained by The Associated Press through records requests found numerous problems reported since April, when the state took the rare step of fining the vendor because of contract failures. The records show 65 instances where Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services failed to provide food or ran out of it — usually the main course, such as hamburgers or chicken patties — while serving inmates, leading to delays and in some cases security concerns as inmates grew frustrated. Substitute items were provided in most cases.

Maggots found in third Ohio prison kitchen
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, July 10, 2014

Maggots turned up at a third Ohio prison yesterday, prompting officials at the Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell to shut down a food line and throw away food. The maggots, which are fly larvae, were not in the food but were seen crawling out of drains in the serving equipment on the food line, said Jo Ellen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. …. All Ohio prisons have food service provided by Aramark Correctional Services, the Philadelphia company that feeds inmates under a $110 million state contract.

Maggots Found In Food At Prisons In Marysville, Trumbull County
Source: Steve Brown, WOSU, July 8, 2014

Newly-unveiled documents show maggots have been found in food and serving equipment at two Ohio prisons. Documents obtained by the Columbus Dispatch shows Aramark Correctional Services, the private company the feeds Ohio inmates, said maggots were found in food at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Another report from June said live maggots were found in a warming tray at a Trumbull county prison.

Maggots found in kitchen at Trumbull Co. prison
Source: WKBN, July 8, 2014

Tuesday, an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Spokesperson confirmed to WKBN that her department is concerned about the food service provided to several state prisons by Aramark. Ohio DRC Communications Chief JoEllen Smith said that Aramark has made plans to have a third-party organization inspect their food preparation. Workers found maggots on food preparation devices twice within the past week, once at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio and once at the Trumbull Correctional Institute in Leavittsburg, Ohio. Tuesday, the ACLU of Ohio urged the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) to end its contract with Aramark Correctional Services, the prison system’s private food vendor, according to a press release from the ACLU….

Ohio Should End Contract with Prison Private Food Vendor /New Reports of Maggots in Prison Food Emerge After Months of Problems with Aramark
Source: ACLU of Ohio, Press Release, July 8, 2014

Today, the ACLU of Ohio urged the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) to end its contract with Aramark Correctional Services, the prison system’s private food vendor, after months of documented problems. News reports on Monday indicated that maggot infestations were found in Aramark food in two Ohio prisons, including two separate incidents at the Ohio Reformatory for Women and one incident at the Trumbull Correctional Institution. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated problem for Aramark in Ohio.

Maggots found in food at two Ohio prisons
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, July 8, 2014

Food and serving equipment contaminated with live maggots have been found at two Ohio prisons.  Aramark Correctional Services, the private company that feeds inmates under a $110 million state contract, said maggots found at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville on June 30 were “one issue that was resolved last week.”  However, reports obtained by The Dispatch show two previous incidents of maggots, which are fly larvae, at prisons earlier this year.   …..

Vendor fined $142,100 for prison-meal problems
Source: Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch, April 19, 2014

The vendor that feeds state prison inmates was fined $142,100 yesterday for contract violations that include failing to hire enough workers to prepare and serve meals. But the union that represents the 341 government workers replaced by employees of Aramark Correctional Services claims that the problems following the privatization of prison food service go much deeper. Since Sept. 26, state officials have banned 76 Aramark employees from prisons for “serious misconduct” that includes unspecified relationships with inmates, security violations and importing contraband….

Ohio lawmaker wants private prison vendor canned
Source: Associated Press, April 21, 2014

An Ohio state lawmaker says the state prisons department should terminate its contract with a private food service operator after fining the company last week for repeatedly failing to meet promised staffing levels. Democratic state Rep. Matt Lundy said Monday that deficiencies identified in Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services’ performance reaffirm his and other opponents’ concerns about privatization. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction fined Aramark $142,100 Friday. The private food vendor took over feeding Ohio’s 50,000 prisoners from state employees in September. The contract goes to June 30, 2015. The ACLU says the fine should trigger a reevaluation of the deal….

OCSEA questions timing of food service fine; says more proof DR&C has lost control
Source: OCSEA, Press Release, April 18, 2014

With just two business days before an arbitration begins between the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on the privatization of prison food service, the agency has fined vendor Aramark $142,000 for failing to adequately staff food operations. But the union is questioning DR&C’s motives, particularly since one of the largest arbitrations the union has ever undertaken is set to start next week. “What took them so long? It’s not as if understaffing just began. Aramark has never adequately staffed food service,” questioned OCSEA President Christopher Mabe. Prison employees have logged thousands of incidents caused by the food service changeover including: menu substitutions; food line delays; doctoring recipes; poor food quality; small portions; sanitation and food safety; cost increases; reduction in service; and security issues. The most serious issues involve the increase in security breaches, including a sharp rise in contraband, inappropriate sexual relationships between Aramark staff and inmates, as well as theft….

DR&C returns prison food service to vendor that overcharged state by $2 million in 1998 / DYS to retain state-operated food service
Source: OCSEA, Press Release, June 21, 2013

Despite a competitive bid from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association to save 11 percent on inmate meal costs without sacrificing safety or jobs, the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction announced that an out-of-state private company will oversee food service operation in Ohio’s state-run adult prisons. Approximately 500 food service employees will be impacted by the change. The Dept. of Youth Services will retain state-operated food service. The private company, Aramark, had previously been charged with overseeing food service operations at Noble Correctional Institution from 1998 to 2000. Their failed tenure resulted in rampant cost overruns, security problems and fraud, including charging the state for phantom inmates. With near-riot conditions as result, DR&C asked that OCSEA bring food services back in-house at a savings of 20 percent.

SOCF union expects loss of 27 food service jobs
Source: Frank Lewis, Portsmouth Daily Times, June 25, 2013

State to privatize prison food service to close budget gap
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch Friday June 21, 2013


Ohio will privatize prison food service this fall in a $110 million deal

Source: Stan Donaldson, Plain Dealer, June 21, 2013


Ohio Prisons Plan To Privatize Meal Service To Save Money

Source: Associated Press, June 23, 2013

…Philadelphia-based Aramark won the two-year contract with a bid to spend about $3.61 per day per inmate, the state said….

State skips union, picks private food service
Source: Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, June 23, 2013

Ohio farms out its prison food to a private contractor / The prison workers’ union says that discounts special security training state food-workers have
Source: WKSU, June 21, 2013

Could Ohio’s plan to privatize prison food cause deadly riots to erupt?
Source: Julie Kent, Cleveland Dealer, February 11, 2013

Governor John Kasich is planning to hire a private food vendor to feed the 50,179 inmates in the Ohio prison system in an effort to cut costs. The Kasich administration argues that outsourcing prison food will save the state as much as $16 million, but some suggest that it could come with another kind of cost and put the safety of its prison workers in jeopardy.

Switching to a private vendor to supply the state’s prisons with food could make notoriously unappetizing prison food even more unappealing. Private vendors, unlike state-run cafeterias, are permitted to skip the federal nutrition guideliens for school lunches at the juvenile detention facilities that they serve. They’re permitted to skimp on food quantity, quality, and staffing, all in the name of profit….

DRC calls for cutbacks and outsourcing at state prisons
Source: Frank Lewis, Portsmouth Daily Times, February 6, 2013

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will look for ways to cut costs and that will mean, among other things, a Request for Proposal for prison food service operations statewide. In a letter to prison officials, DRC Director Gary Mohr said austerity measures are going to be required nearly across the board and among those costs is food service within prisons such as Southern Ohio Correctional facility at Lucasville.

How big investors are shaping the (boring) future of transportation

Source: Lawrence Delevingne, CNBC, August 20, 2014

Forget flying cars, large private investors are focusing on improving existing infrastructure and technology over the next 25 years. … Long-term investors who control tens of billions of dollars—private-equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, public pensions and the like—aren’t betting on the proverbial jet pack of tomorrow. Instead, they hope to make substantial returns by focusing on more immediate—and boring—needs, like fixing bridges, redesigning airports and tweaking road and car technology. Deals like Industry Funds Management’s purchase of London Stansted Airport in 2013; Fortress Investment Group’s ongoing development of Florida East Coast Industries, a regional rail system from Miami to Orlando; and Global Infrastructure Partners’ recent sale of its stake in the Port of Brisbane to Canadian pension La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec show how private investors will have a big part in shaping the evolution of transportation over the next 25 years. … The number of investors who fund large transportation projects have proliferated over the last 10 years. Today, large banks and private-equity firms, such as Carlyle, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, KKR, Goldman Sachs and Citi, compete with large public pensions, like CalPERS, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas for the best deals. …

Editorial: To hold line on taxes, cuts must be made

Source: Daily Gazette, August 28, 2014

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand that government control your taxes and at the same time fight every sensible attempt to reduce government spending. Such is the case in Glenville, where the town has the opportunity to save taxpayers nearly $450,000 by hiring a private firm to clean town buildings and by not having a person in the police station lobby greeting people around the clock. The town has proposed replacing two retiring town employees with a private cleaning company, potentially saving town taxpayers nearly $100,000 a year in salaries and benefits. No one is getting fired or laid off. The positions are becoming vacant, and the town has found a cheaper way to replace them with a professional service. Yet the regional CSEA president and unionized town workers are objecting, even suggesting that the private company cleaners will steal employees’ stuff at night.

Advantages of a Healthcare Laundry Cooperative

Sponsor: International Association for Healthcare Textile Management (IAHTM), White Paper, July 15, 2014
(registration required)

Laundry is the most outsourced service by hospitals. Before you outsource to a commercial service, learn more about the benefits of a laundry cooperative. Healthcare facilities nationwide are looking for ways to cut costs and operate more efficiently, and that includes how they source their laundry and linen service. This white paper provides an overview of all laundry options available to healthcare providers, including information on the advantages provided by laundry cooperatives.

• The differences between OPLs, laundry cooperatives, commercial 3rd party providers, as well as contract management versus independent management.
• How laundry cooperatives can provide enhanced quality and service while reducing costs.
• Why you don’t have to build your own cooperative to secure the benefits they offer.
• How you can apply for a complimentary audit of your laundry operation (and secure help determining current laundry costs and a second opinion on how to increase operational efficiency).

A double-edged sword

Source: Victoria K. Sicaras, Public Works, Vol. 145 no. 7, July 2014

Does spending more on consulting services indicate public works departments have better budgets or thinner work forces? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. … According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, general fund spending is projected to increase 2.9% this year. At the local level, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services expects housing market gains to strengthen city and county credit quality. And for the first time in three years, Public Works readers have increased their use of consultants. The biggest hint that public works departments are putting the Great Recession behind them is a significant increase in project planning. Almost 200 public works professionals participated in our ninth annual reader survey regarding architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms. Their responses show that:
∙ 90% used AEC firms over the past year. That’s 8 percentage points higher than last year, and 12 and 13 percentage points higher than in 2012 and 2011, respectively.
∙ 64% completed up to 10 projects with the help of firms, up from 58% last year.
∙ 17% spent more than $1 million on consulting services.
∙ 31% expect to spend more on consulting over the coming year, a 10% increase….

Our Views: Aramark jail service too ‘private’

Source: Grand Haven Tribune, August 25, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced that his office would soon be monitoring the $145 million contract with Aramark Correctional Services that, up until that point, was under the watchful eye of the Michigan Department of Corrections — sort of. … As taxpayers who pay for the contract with Aramark, we have the right to know how that contract is being serviced, and that only those services within the contract are being rendered. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case. The state has fined Aramark nearly $300,000, or 0.002 percent of the $145 million the contract is worth, but there are no plans to cancel the pact. Most would agree that fine isn’t very impactful. …

Related:
EDITORIAL: Outsourcing isn’t the problem
Source: Detroit News, August 16, 2014

In response to the problems with Michigan’s privatized prison food service company, Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services, Gov. Rick Snyder has fined the firm $200,000 …. Yet it was not a mistake to privatize the food service. The state is saving $14 million a year by outsourcing it. Reverting to the old system of state employed staff members is not the answer. Getting Aramark to clean up its act or replacing it with another food vender is a better option.

Michigan fines prison food vendor $200,000
Source: David Eggert, Associated Press, August 8, 2014

Michigan officials imposed a $200,000 fine Friday against the food vendor for the state’s prison system, citing unapproved menu substitutions, inadequate staffing and employee misconduct. The state Corrections Department stopped short of ending its contract with Aramark Correctional Services, which it absolved of blame for maggots found recently in a Jackson prison’s food service area.

Aramark to learn fate of prison food contract in two weeks
Source: Paul Egan, Gannett Michigan, August 3, 2014

News Michigan’s beleaguered prison food contractor should find out in the next two weeks whether it faces further financial penalties or even dismissal after its first eight months were marred by food shortages, kitchen maggots and high turnover as employees were caught smuggling contraband and engaging in sex acts with inmates. Many Democrats and a few Republican lawmakers are urging Gov. Rick Snyder to terminate Aramark Correctional Service’s contract and return state employees to the kitchens, saying safety and security must take precedence over estimated contract savings of about $16 million a year. Smuggling and fraternization potentially endanger prison staff, and problems with food quantity and quality — including maggots found around food in at least two Michigan prisons — have raised inmate tension levels. …

Why did Aramark get the prison food contract? Here’s some insight
Source: Steve Miller, MLive.com, July 23, 2014
Why did Aramark Correctional Services, now under fire for alleged infractions in its food
service contract with the state prison system, win a bid over its competitors? It came down to a single point on the state’s contract-award rating system, records show, allowing Aramark to get the contract over the other finalist, Florida-based Trinity Services Group. That single point eventually grew to four points after further consideration by a four-person panel charged with awarding the deal.
Even in its application for the contract, Aramark had problems…. Curiously, the state almost shelved the idea of privatizing food service for the state’s prisons when it determined that its savings would not be enough to justify it. At the last minute, though, several Republican lawmakers insisted that the deal be made. While it screams of money being exchanged, a search of campaign contributions finds nothing remarkable coming from the Aramark PAC going into the campaign coffers of its statehouse advocates. … In one email, Kevin Weissenborn, the Michigan Department of Corrections manager in charge of policing the Aramark contract, told a colleague in March that Aramark “claims we are not being a good partner, which only leaves me to wonder about their definition of a partnership.” It would have been nice to see just what Aramark officials involved with the contract were saying to each other, but its $145 million contract with the state protects Aramark from FOIA requests, directly stating that “[Aramark] is not required to respond to any state or federal FOIA requests by third parties” – meaning the public that is spending the $145 million…

Aramark prison workers caught in sexual romp with inmates, fired
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, July 16, 2014

In a development a Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman said was “unprecedented,” four Aramark prison workers at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia were fired today for having inappropriate sexual contact with inmates inside a walk-in cooler, a Corrections Department official confirmed…. The firings came after officials reviewed recent surveillance video, Marlan said. Two of the kitchen workers were at work today and were escorted out. Two others were fired and not allowed into the prison when they showed up for work, he said. The firings also mean more than 80 Aramark workers have now been banned from prison property for various infractions since the company took over on Dec. 8, eliminating 370 state jobs…

You get what you pay when hiring private company for Michigan prisons: embarrassing failures
Source: Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio, July 14, 2014

…The problem is this: Inmates of state prisons are different from other people. They are, by definition, criminals, often wily ones, adept at beating the system. They need expert handling. Private companies save money by hiring workers at very low salaries. You get what you pay for. State Senator Bert Johnson turns out to have been a prophet here; last year he warned against privatizing prison food services, as weakening “the care and monitoring of Michigan’s incarcerated.” If anyone should know, it’s him. He did time as a young man before turning his life around. The senator openly admits he once made a bad mistake. On this issue, it would be nice to see the state admit it made one too. …

Senate majority leader says Michigan should rebid Aramark prison contract
Source: Paul Egan and Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, July 10, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said Thursday the state should rebid its contract for prison food services, given ongoing problems with the existing contractor, as unions stepped up pressure on Gov. Rick Snyder to return the work to state government employees. “I’d put it back up for bid,” Richardville, R-Monroe, said of the seven-month-old contract with Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia, during a taping of the public affairs program “Off the Record” on WKAR-TV. ….

More calls for state to end food service contract with Aramark in Michigan prisons
Source: WTVB, July 11, 2014

Leaders from the union representing the state employees who used to run food services in Michigan’s prison system and the corrections officers union again called for the Governor to end the contract with the company that took over the program. Nick Ciaramitaro, the legislative director of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 25, warned the Governor that “he is playing with dynamite” if he does not nix the Aramark deal. He contends the problems will continue to mount unless the jobs “are brought back in house.” The MIRS News Service reports that Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville Thursday told the television program Off the Record the state “definitely needs to revisit the contract,” although he stopped short of calling for termination. If that does happen Richardville said he thinks the contract should be re-bid. Addressing the contract is “a top priority,” as he concluded, “there is no way that this should be happening.” …

Governor Snyder Considering Terminating Aramark Contract For MI Prisons
Source: Tim Skubick, WLNS, July 9, 2014

The Snyder administration has not made a final decision, but there are indications that the governor is considering terminating a food service contract in the state prison system. 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick has an update on this continuing story. The governor is not happy with the Aramark Company and its handling of food services behind prison walls. … So is the governor thinking about terminating the contract? He did not say yes, but he clearly did not say no….The legislature, not the governor decided to fire 370 state employees who did the food services prior to the private company coming in. The state prison director even told lawmakers not to do it….

Inmates sick after maggots found on serving line at prison
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, July 1, 2014

About 30 prisoners at a Michigan correctional facility are being treated for symptoms consistent with food poisoning after maggots and fly larvae were discovered in one of the meal serving lines, an official confirmed Monday. But a spokeswoman for Aramark Correctional Services, Michigan’s prison food contractor, said there is no evidence linking the discovery of the maggots to the outbreak of illness….


Maggots, Fly Larvae Found in Jackson Prison

Source: Lorne Fultonberg, WILX, June 30, 2014

Approximately 30 inmates from the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson are suffering from a gastrointestinal illness, which could be related to maggots and fly larvae found in a food line, said Russ Marlan, spokesman for the Department of Corrections. The prison discovered fly larvae and maggots Friday night about two inches from where the serving trays sat, Marlan said. The next day, dozens of inmates were complaining of vomiting, upset stomachs and diarrhea. The food and dining facilities are managed by Aramark which took over the food service contract in December, eliminating 370 jobs in the process. Since December, Aramark has fired an employee for being drunk on the job and another was caught smuggling marijuana into the prison….

Private Contractor For Michigan Prisons Repeatedly Failed To Give Inmates Enough Food
Source: Alan Pyke, ThinkProgress, June 30, 2014

Less than a year after Michigan shifted responsibility for feeding its prisoners to a private contract with international food services conglomerate Aramark, the state Department of Corrections (DOC) is warning the company that it may yank the contract if chronic food shortages and security violations don’t cease….

Aramark prison food supervisor fired for being drunk on job
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, May 12, 2014

The top Aramark Correctional Services official at Parnell Correctional Facility in Jackson was fired last week for being drunk on the job, a Corrections Department spokesman confirmed Monday. Aramark’s food service director at Parnell was given a Breathalyzer test by Aramark last Tuesday after officials received an anonymous tip, Russ Marlan told the Free Press. When she failed the test, the woman was fired and banned from the state prison system, he said. Marlan said there have been 58 Aramark employees fired and banned from the state prison system in the five months since the state privatized prison food service in December with a three-year, $145-million contract….

Michigan prison food vendor survives union challenge in 2-2 vote
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, May 7, 2014

Michigan’s Civil Service Commission deadlocked 2-2 on a union challenge to the state’s privatization of its prison food service, meaning a three-year, $145-million contract with Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia will remain in place. It’s likely the fight over the contract will now move to the state courts, a union spokesman said. In an opinion released Wednesday, http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C422124257.PDF Commission Chairman Thomas (Mac) Wardrop and Commissioner James Barrett rejected the appeal by Michigan AFSCME Council 25 and the Michigan Association of Governmental Employees. Commissioners Charles Blockett Jr. and Robert Swanson wanted to grant the appeal and turn the issue over to the state Employment Relations Board for further proceedings. ….

Michigan unions cite safety as lawmakers consider more privatization
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, May 7, 2014

Unions representing state employees asked the Michigan Civil Service Commission today to consider not just price, but quality, when approving deals to lay off state employees and privatize government services. The commission took no action after state officials testified that quality assurances are built into privatization contracts….

Safety, Quality of Privatized Services Remain Top Concerns for State Union Employees
Source: Josh Sidorowicz, WILX, May 7, 2014

Unions representing state employees urged the Michigan Civil Service Commission Wednesday to consider quality, not just the bottom line, when looking to privatize government state services. During public remarks at a commission meeting Wednesday morning, several unions representing state employees testified about the need for more quality assurance and transparency when it comes to privatization contracts. Mel Grieshaber, the executive director of the Michigan Department of Corrections cited the Aramark food service contract, that privatized the state’s food service for inmates, as one of the most recent examples of outsourcing that has sacrificed quality and safety to save money….

Michigan prison food employees violate policies more often than other workers, department says
Source: Brian Smith, mlive.com, April 15, 2014

Employees of the private contractor in charge of food service in Michigan’s prisons are violating corrections department policy more often than other prison workers. The Michigan Department of Corrections has issued 51 “stop orders” banning Aramark workers from the state’s correctional facilities for a number of issues, department spokesman Russ Marlan said….Marlan said that the number of orders issued ejecting Aramark employees from working in Michigan prisons since the contract began is abnormal….

Food worker accused of trying to smuggle marijuana into Jackson prison
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 20, 2014

An Aramark Correctional Services worker is accused of trying to smuggle bags of marijuana into a state prison in Jackson in the latest in a series of problems since the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder opted to eliminate 370 state jobs and pay a contractor to provide prison meals, starting last December. And while state Corrections Department officials say they aren’t ready to pull the plug on the $145-million, three-year deal yet, they said in a Feb. 27 letter to Aramark they have “grounds for insecurity” and expect a swift turnaround….

Union decries mistakes by company hired to feed prisoners
Source: Tim Skubick, MLive.com, March 16, 2014

The state Corrections Department may not be smiling but at least some prisoners are after having inappropriate contact with employees of a private company hired to provide food services behind prison walls. A union contends that included sex while the DOC contends that is an exaggeration, although it does confirm one case of kissing. Either way 29 Aramark employees have been banned from prison work for “over familiarity” which also apparently included writing love letters to crooks and attempting to smuggle cell phones behind prison walls. … The state corrections officer union and AFSCME were at the front of the line warning this company had it’s own “rap sheet.” The Associated Press reports that in Kentucky, Ohio and Florida, the company charged for food it never served. …. On top of all the food problems at the Huron Valley facility for women, the new hires were given eight hours of computer training, according to the MIRS News Service, which reviewed 500 pages of state inspections. The report says they were then placed on the job “and knew nothing about policy, procedure and work rules…This lack of training is unacceptable, dangerous and creates safety and security issues,” the state concluded. ….

Michigan fines Aramark $98,000 for prison food rule violations
Source: Darren A. Nichols, Detroit News, March 11, 2014

A food service provider, already under fire for its handling of food and dealing with inmates, has been fined $98,000 for violating its contract, according to two state Department of Corrections letters released Tuesday. Aramark Corp., which took over Michigan prison food service operations late last year that eliminated union jobs, was fined after not getting approval to make meal substitutions 52 times, failing to make the appropriate number of meals 240 times and allowing 12 instances of poor staff conduct, according to two state letters addressed to the company dated March 6. During a six-week period starting Jan. 17, the company made 52 meal substitutions without appropriate authorization and another 188 substitutions were made. Aramark was charged $26,000 for 52 unauthorized meals and $60,000 for not supplying the appropriate number of meals to prisoners. The Philadelphia service giant also was penalized for 12 instances from Jan. 17 to Feb. 28 of staff violating rules over how to deal with prisoners….

Related:
Michigan prison food vendor fined $98,000 for worker fraternization, menu problems
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 11, 2014

The Michigan Department of Corrections has fined its new prison food vendor, Aramark Correctional Services, $98,000 for violating its contract by employing workers who fraternized with prisoners and by making unauthorized menu substitutions and not preparing the correct number of meals, the department said Tuesday….

Michigan prisoners leave cells in protest over meals, menu options
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, February 18, 2014

About 200 prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility in Kincheloe left their cells and demonstrated Monday over their food – two months after the Department of Corrections eliminated 370 state jobs and privatized its food service. …

Michigan prisons fine private food service contractor for violations
Source: Michigan Radio, March 11, 2014

The Michigan Department of Corrections has fined Aramark, the company that handles food operations in state prisons. The MDOC notified Aramark of the fines, totaling almost $100,000, by two letters sent in the last two weeks.The MDOC said Aramark violated its contract by substituting meals, and by failing to prepare the right number of meals. The fines have been assessed for 52 unauthorized meal substitutions and 240 instances of improper meal counts….

Mich. lawmakers question if security cutbacks, food privatization played role in prison escape
Source: Associated Press, February 4, 2014

Some Michigan lawmakers are questioning whether security cutbacks and the recent privatization of prison food service factored into a killer’s escape from an Ionia prison. Democratic Sen. Glenn Anderson of Westland said Tuesday it was “foolish” for Michigan to scale back perimeter patrols and eliminate manned gun towers in recent years to save money. Officials say Michael David Elliot escaped Sunday through fences equipped with motion sensors and electric current before being captured in Indiana. Anderson says security is weaker since majority Republicans handed food service operations over to a private contractor. Elliot escaped wearing a white kitchen uniform but didn’t work in the kitchen.
Related:
Did The Privatization Of Food Service In Michigan Prisons Contribute To Prison Break?
Source: WWJ, February 4, 2014

State officials probe union complaints on prison food workers
Source: Gary Heinlein, Detroit News, January 15, 2014

State corrections officials are looking into union complaints of alleged unsafe conduct by employees of a new prison food service vendor but dispute one serious charge — that an employee of the contractor had sex with an inmate. …. Michigan Corrections Organization President Tom Tylutki said the union has “multiple examples” of improper conduct by workers of the new private contractor. …
Related:
Union says untrained Aramark workers threaten Michigan prison security
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, January 15, 2014

An employee of contractor Aramark Correctional Services has been caught having sex with an inmate and prisoners who work in kitchens are getting easier access to knives, less than six weeks after state employees were laid off and prison food services were privatized, the head of the union representing corrections officers says in a letter to the department director. …

Related:
Michigan prison food switch brings mixed reviews
Source: Paul Egan, Lansing State Journal, December 16, 2013

One week after the launch of one of state government’s largest privatization moves in decades, prison officials said a contractor is doing a good job providing meals to Michigan’s 45,000 prisoners, but union leaders said the transition has been a rocky one. … The deal, estimated to save $12 million to $16 million a year, eliminates about 370 state jobs. Some workers retired, 166 former food service workers enrolled in an eight-week corrections officer school and are expected to stay with the department, eight got monitoring jobs related to the Aramark contract and about 100 were laid off, Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. … Union officials said Aramark has not hired all the workers it needs, hasn’t fully trained those it has and has had to bring in managers from other facilities around the country. They said they’ve heard reports of food shortages, employee turnover and contraband entering the prisons, among other issues….

Dianda wants Privatization of Prison Food Services ended
Source: ABC 10, November 15, 2013

State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) wrote an open letter today to Acting State Personnel Director Janet McClelland calling for an end to food service privatization in Michigan prisons. Dianda worked across the aisle to get the signatures of 13 other state representatives and three senators attached to the letter, which had bipartisan support. On Sept. 18, stakeholders from across the correctional services industry testified before the Michigan Civil Service Commission against administration plans to outsource prison food services. In his letter, Dianda highlighted the evidence presented. … Current in-state DOC vendors testified that outsourcing food provisions to out-of-state vendors would have devastating effects on their businesses and on Michigan’s economy as a whole, while correctional officers and managerial staff raised concerns that the proposed change would lead to violence. In addition to those concerns, legislators raised bicameral and bipartisan concerns about the manner in which the bidding process was handled. Less than 24 hours after the extensive testimony and evidence was delivered, the governor announced that he intended to expedite the outsourcing of prison food services. Along with this announcement, the governor has said he wants not only to negotiate a contract with the private food service company Aramak, but to get that contract approved, signed and implemented before Dec.1 − before the next meeting of the Civil Service Commission. …

Prison food service moves step closer to privatization
Source: Paul Egan, press-citizen.com, September 24, 2013

A state administrative committee gave approval Tuesday to a three-year, $145-million contract with a prison food contractor that is expected to eliminate about 370 state government jobs. The recommended approval from the finance and claims committee of the contract with Aramark Correctional Services of Pennsylvania is expected to go to the full State Administrative Board for approval on Monday….

State opts to privatize prison food service, saving taxpayers $12 million a year
Source: Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, April 30, 2013

In a reversal, officials said today they will privatize food service for 45,000 state prisoners by awarding a nearly $50 million yearly contract to catering giant Aramark. The move would eliminate the jobs of about 370 state workers who currently prepare and serve meals, but is estimated to save taxpayers more than $12 million a year. The state put the food service out to bid last year, but an analysis by officials from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget and the Department of Corrections concluded Aramark and a second company that bid would not save taxpayers enough money to justify privatization.

In a reversal, Michigan moves to privatize state prison food services
Source: Tim Martin, Mlive.com, April 30, 2013

… Roughly two months ago, the state had decided against privatizing prison food services, saying the contracts put out for bid didn’t achieve enough savings as required by state rules. But some Republican lawmakers raised objections about the original analysis. State officials redid the analysis and found some mistakes were made in the original review. State officials now have what they consider a more valid and accurate review and say they will go forward with a deal with Aramark….