Kilgore College trustees voted unanimously Monday to move forward with outsourcing of the maintenance department, bringing the custodial, maintenance and groundskeeping services under one company’s umbrella. The move could cost the college as much as 20 percent more than it has been spending on those services. … One of the “driving factors” of the decision was the state had “offloaded 100 percent of the benefits costs for that classification of employee on to the college. There was no subsidy,” KC President Bill Holda explained to the packed second floor of the Stewart McLaurin Administration Building. About the time the cost of benefits began to go up, he said, the state’s share of those costs for other employees went down. … Holda “guesstimated” the college put in roughly $2.1 million per year for grounds, custodial and maintenance services. During interviews with the different companies college officials found the school will have to spend between $300,000 and $400,000 more per year to make the place “appropriate.” …
The Manistique School Board discussed the possibility of privatizing the district’s custodial operations during its meeting Monday night. Superintendent Mary Ann Boddy told the Radio Results Network that the board had several options: privatizing, phasing in privatization or going with the status quo.
“After some good conversation, and some great thoughts shared by the public during public comment, the board did vote NOT to go forward with privatization,” Boddy told RRN News. “We believe that it will be a good move for all of the employees at the Manistique Area Schools moving forward. We’re happy that things turned out the way that they did.”
The Lansing School District anticipated saving $760,000 annually when it outsourced busing services to Dean Transportation in May 2014. It didn’t. In its first year with Dean, the district spent $754,000, saving just $6,000. Inaccurate bus routes provided by the district to Dean were one of the chief reasons for the added costs, said district spokesman Bob Kolt.Dan Hamilton, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 25, said the district simply traded in the value of one of its assets by selling the bus fleet…Little more than a year after privatizing busing, the district is now accepting bids for facilities management services. The district has asked for bids from companies that can provide custodial work as well as maintain the district’s athletic fields. As many as 115 union employees who currently work for the district could be affected. School board President Peter Spadafore said the district will be allowed to bid for the contract.
Lansing schools accepting bids to replace custodians
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, July 17, 2015
The Lansing School District is accepting bids from private companies to replace nearly 150 existing union employees. … Peter Spadafore, president of the district’s Board of Education, said the board discusses all potential budget-related issues annually. Conversations about privatizing custodial and other maintenance services have come up in recent years, but Spadafore said Friday he was not aware the district was soliciting bids. The district is required to entertain a bid from the existing union, Spadafore said. … Communication from school officials has been non-existent, Rassizi said. She and her fellow employees worry the union won’t be considered by the district because of requirements outlined in the request. Any organization submitting a bid is required to show five school district clients where they are currently providing services, two of which need to be of comparable size to the Lansing School District, according to the request. … Last year, the district privatized its bus services, saving about $760,000 in annual costs. The district contracts services with Dean Transportation through an Ingham Intermediate School District consortium. The district also expected to sell its existing bus fleet for about $1.5 million.
The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education will decide next month on whether to enter into an agreement resulting in privatizing maintenance and custodial services in the district….Board President Jessica Back said that although she’s deeply saddened about having to support privatization of custodial services, other district employees are shouldering the brunt of the cutbacks. “I have real trouble justifying holding on to the custodial staff when we already cut teacher salaries, we’ve cut teachers’ salaries by 3 percent, plus we’ve asked them to take more concessions, and that is a hard thing to do and that directly affects students,” she said..
..Many residents and custodial workers attended the July 13 meeting in support of keeping the custodial staff. “Above all, I have safety concerns,” said parent Christen Wilder. “I can walk into Schalm school and recognize the faces of those people that belong there, but more importantly, the custodians know who does or doesn’t belong in a building.” The lifetime resident and parent of two children said she is concerned that an outside company would not provide the dedication to after-school activities, fundraisers, practices and events. “I would hope that maybe some maneuvers to streamline services and increase productivity and efficiency could be explored,” she said. Tony Dematties, head night custodian at Kenwood Elementary School, named a long list of duties the custodians perform in addition to cleaning. “Other attributes we bring are the familiarity of buildings, equipment, children, families and the community, and our genuine concern with keeping the children safe,” he said. Dematties said outsourcing will hurt the district, children, staff and community.
School district considers privatizing custodial services
Source: Victoria Mitchell, C&G Newspapers, June 17, 2015
The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education began publicly discussing privatizing its custodial services last week in an attempt to save more than a quarter of a million dollars. …. The district’s 2015-16 budget projects a fund balance, like a rainy day bank account, of just below 2 percent of the $22 million general fund. The district’s goal is a minimum of 5 percent. …. The district employs 13 custodians covering 419,543 square feet of buildings and 20 acres of property. Clawson Public Schools has 1,750 students and is expected to drop to 1,700 students in the 2015-16 school year.
Privatization would result in layoffs of the current custodial staff….. Under the privatization plan, Clawson would hire GCA Services Group and receive the services of 21.5 custodians, including two full-time maintenance men and two dedicated groundskeepers….
Portage Public Schools has approved contracts with both staff custodians and the company it has hired to provide custodial services….While the school board and administrators said they were happy with the work and relationship with the Portage custodians, they have concerns about the Grand Rapids Building Services Inc….The district has a three-year contract with the firm that was approved in 2012 and was set to expire in August. The district agreed to a one-year extension for $1.8 million, but safeguards and measures have been put into place to monitor and improve the company custodians’ work….GRBS wanted more than a one-year extension, Herron said, but the district feels it wants to see improvements before deciding whether to continue beyond 2016 with the company.
Two ways companies can remain competitive in a tightening marketplace is to control or reudce costs. Usually when a business owner wants to make more money, the first thing that comes to mind is to raise rates or send an increase notice to existing customers. However, anytime you do this, you run the risk of a customer responding with a notice of their own, specifically a cancellation notice or one that says they are puting the account out to bid…If you want to make more money, a much safer approach is to take a look at the costs that are in your control…Costs are generally categorized in at least four major categories: labor, supplies, overhead, and profit…Labor is where the most emphasis must be placed when it comes to reducing or hold the line on costs…When it comes to reducing labor, consider the following…Cut the workshift by one hour per day…Look for add-on services that you can provide without extra staff…
Nationwide Facilities Services Provider Fails to Maintain Records That Disclose Impact of Its Employee Selection Procedures, Federal Agency Charges. … Crothall Services Group, Inc., a nationwide provider of janitorial and facilities management services based in Wayne, Pa., is in violation of federal law requiring it to maintain records or other information that will disclose the impact its employee selection procedures have on equal employment opportunities, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday. According to EEOC’s complaint, Crothall conducts criminal background checks and criminal history assessments. Crothall uses its assessments of an applicant’s criminal history to make hiring decisions. The company fails to make and keep required records, however, that will disclose the impact that its criminal history assessments have on persons identifiable by race, sex or ethnic group, the agency charged. Crothall’s failure to make and keep such records violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ….
Source: Bernice Yeung, Center for Investigative Reporting, Reveal, June 23, 2015
Daffodil Altan of Reveal, Sasha Khokha of KQED and Andrés Cediel and Lowell Bergman of IRP reported for this story.
….The night shift janitor is an easy target for abuse. She clocks in after the last worker has flipped off the lights and locked the door. It’s tough work done for little pay in the anonymity of night, among mazes of empty cubicles and conference rooms. She’s even less likely to speak up if she’s afraid of being deported or fired. Across the country, janitors at companies large and small say their employers have compounded the problem by turning a blind eye to complaints and attacking their credibility when they report abuse at the hands of their supervisors or co-workers. In the janitorial world, ABM is the largest. It employs the most cleaners in the country and has a history of facing charges that it failed to prevent sexual violence. It’s among a rare group of 15 American corporations to have been targeted multiple times by the federal government for sexual harassment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued ABM three times since 2000 for mishandling complaints of sexual harassment or worse. Two of those cases involved allegations of rape, which is striking considering how rare it is for people to make these types of allegations publicly. In all three cases, the company settled and agreed to make improvements…..
….We found 42 lawsuits from the past two decades in which ABM janitors said they had been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped at work. An unknown number of cases have been hidden from public view through confidential settlements. And despite government-imposed reform plans, similar accusations continue to crop up. In Los Angeles, two lawsuits filed in the past year say women who complained about explicit comments or sexual assault were ignored. After more than a year of correspondence, ABM officials declined to be interviewed. The company instead provided a statement from its lawyer, Miranda Tolar. It said the way ABM handles the issue is the “gold standard” for the industry…..
….In Massachusetts, seven female janitors cleaning universities and office buildings for a company called UGL Unicco sued their employer after they said their supervisor touched and harassed them. The case settled in 2002 for $1 million; the company did not admit wrongdoing. Janitors have sued the company five times in federal courts since then. In Minnesota, a janitor filed a lawsuit in 2009 that claimed she was raped repeatedly by her boss while on the clock cleaning a shopping mall. When it got notice of her complaint, cleaning company Service Management Systems asked the accused manager to gather evidence for the case. The company settled the case and later said this was against its protocol. The janitor now works uneventfully for ABM…..
….Janitors have claimed that they were forced to clock in using two different names to avoid racking up overtime, Lerner said. They say unscrupulous contractors call them independent contractors so they don’t have to follow labor laws. Segments of the workforce aren’t authorized to work in the U.S., a scenario that makes workers vulnerable to abuses and puts companies at risk for legal problems. Another part of the industry operates completely on the black market. The outfits go unregistered with the government to avoid paying taxes or insurance. These off-the-grid companies can charge far less than their competitors, said Lilia Garcia-Brower of the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, which is partially funded by ABM to ferret out labor violations among nonunionized companies…..
School officials have expressed confidence that thorough upfront vetting and multiple layers of accountability will ensure that an expanded program of privatized custodial services at county schools will go more smoothly than the limited program that started last year. A committee of school principals and central office administrators has been working to finalize details of a contract with Knoxville, Tennessee-based SSC Service Solutions, and committee members said they already have been impressed with the company’s professionalism and attention to details. … The school division rolled out privatized custodial services at eight of the county’s 62 schools last year, and the contractor, GCA Services Group of Cleveland, Ohio, came under fire after school officials logged nearly 200 complaints about GCA custodians. The complaints ranged from failure to clean items like athletic mats to failing to lock schools’ exterior doors at night. Temple said she was still finding doors that had been left unlocked just the week before. “I feel like security is one of the biggest things [SSC is] bringing to us,” she said. A major purpose of the privatization program is to cut the school system’s spending on custodial services by $3.6 million, with the savings to be used to fund a 2 percent increase in teacher salaries….. SSC is in the process of hiring a regional manager who will work directly with Chesterfield [county], and school officials have participated in the interviewing process for that position, Evans said. …
The School Department outsourced custodial services in 2011 on the projections that it would free up at least $200,000 each year of the three-year contract. Yet as costs rise, and with several instances of thefts involving workers hired by contractor Aramark, some school and town officials are questioning whether outsourcing was a wise decision. … Town Manager Paul Cohen said there have been numerous cleanliness complaints in the schools and instances where projects that were supposed to be completed during school vacations were not. There were also some delayed school openings during the winter because walkways were not cleared of snow in a timely manner. …. In July 2011, 26 union custodians [editor’s note: AFSCME Council 93] were paid a gross vacation buyout amount of $100,070, according to Town Accountant Darlene Lussier. Because this payout did not include compensation for sick-bank hours, 17 former custodians filed an unfair-labor-practice complaint. According to town records, $20,000 was disbursed to the custodians in October 2013 in a settlement….
Police: Custodian caught stealing Chelmsford students’ drugs
Source: Lisa Redmond, Lowell Sun, June 19, 2013
A 21-year-old Lowell man is accused of breaking into the school nurse’s locked cabinet at a Chelmsford middle school and stealing students’ prescription drugs. … Police say about a dozens of pills were missing from different students’ medication bottles. The pills were stimulants and medication for Attention Deficit Disorder, police said. The medication was stored in a locked file cabinet in the nurse’s office. Police say the key to the cabinet was stored in the nurse’s unlocked desk drawer. Both school nurses were cooperative and had no involvement, police said. One nurse told police she found dirt on her desk on several mornings, suggesting someone had been sitting in her chair and putting his feet on her desk. Her desk drawers were in different positions. … McPhee told the school that a private company is hired by the schools to clean the school on Saturday. The company told police that one of the custodians worked until 7:30 p.m., and that Ralls worked until 9:30 p.m. …Ralls allegedly told police his had used opiates for year, but stopped and was stealing the medications to help pay his rent. Ralls told police he wasn’t the only one stealing, that another custodian stole money from a teacher’s drawer, documents state. …
School Department to Outsource Custodians / The committee has decided not to accept a proposal from the custodians union.
Source: Krista Perry, Chelmsford Patch, June 8, 2011
In an effort to save more than $200,000, the School Committee last night said it will outsource its school custodians to an outside vendor….In an executive session vote, the committee decided to reject that proposal and outsource custodial services to a vendor under the terms of the RFP. The change will take place on July 1. … Aramark, the schools’ top choice, presented a plan to the committee. Five representatives told committee members they will regularly survey and meet with principals and administrators, control inventory, and train their employees monthly on new equipment or processes….