The National Park Service and the Coast Guard say they will hire contractors for positions typically filled by civilian employees, something a federal union says is illegal. Both agencies say they are within their legal rights. Under federal law, agencies are prohibited from contracting out functions performed by 10 or more civilian employees unless they have documented the cost benefits of such a conversion. …. The Coast Guard wants contractors to collect new user fees at its National Vessel Documentation Center in Falling Waters, W.Va. …. NPS also argued it could not afford new federal employees. The agency plans to contract out custodial and grounds-keeping work at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pa….
The city school system could not prove it sought competitive bids for an $88.1 million custodial-supply contract, then failed to monitor whether it was overpaying for things like mops and cleaners, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer…DOE officials responded that the comptroller relied on unverified accusations from custodians and failed to prove taxpayers were harmed. Auditors examined a five-year contract with Strategic Distribution Inc., which won the award in 2010 after competing bidders were disqualified. The auditors determined that school officials failed to monitor the market prices of supplies bought from SDI….
Audit Report On The Department Of Education’s Custodial Supply Management Contract With Strategic Distribution, Inc.
Source: New York City Comptroller, City Agency Audit Reports, MG13-079A, June 25, 2014
From the press release:
The New York City Department of Education (DOE) failed to employ adequate controls in awarding and managing a multi-million dollar custodial supply contract for city schools, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars, according to an audit released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer…. The Comptroller’s audit examined the first three years of the current five-year contract with Strategic Distribution, Inc. (SDI) worth $88.1 million, with an option to extend another six months for an additional $8.7 million for the purpose of furnishing and providing on-site delivery of custodial supplies to approximately 1,200 public schools throughout New York City….
The Butts County Board of Education last week unanimously approved a $26.5 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2015, but voted 3-1 to renew a janitorial services contract with a North Carolina company…. The dissenting vote for the janitorial services contract with Facilico was cast by District 5 board member Millard Daniel who, along with Marshall, voted against the initial contract with Facilico in 2013 when the school system’s custodial services were first privatized…. The one-year contract with Facilico was for $625,834, which is almost $27,000 more than the school system’s contract with the company approved in 2013 for $599,000….
Divided school board votes to privatize custodial work
Source: Michael Davis, Jackson Progress-Argus, May 23, 2013
The Butts County Board of Education voted Thursday to privatize the work done by 21 school system custodians. Under the terms of the deal struck with North Carolina-based Facilico, all school system custodians who wish to remain on the job would be hired by the company on a 90-day probationary basis. Butts County Schools will pay $599,000 under a one-year contract, which Superintendent Robert “Buddy” Costley said Thursday will be a savings of about $150,000 off the projected cost to keep the custodial work in-house next year. … He acknowledged that the custodians would take a cut in hourly pay and the number of days worked, but said the $10- to $12-per-hour rate the system negotiated with Facilico by looking for savings elsewhere is higher than the $8 to $9 the company initially proposed. Costley said Facilico currently works with one other school system in the region, Pike County Schools, and that employees would undergo background checks at least equivalent to, if not more stringent than, those conducted by Butts County Schools….
In lieu of privatizing custodian services, the Mansfield City Schools Financial Planning and Supervision Commission recommended the district find ways to make current custodian services more efficient. … The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission previously considered privatizing custodian services, but decided against it after savings estimates were found to be lower than previously expected, Marshall said. “Initially, we thought we could save close to $1 million by privatizing custodians,” Marshall said. “The last number we received was $300,000. For a million, we’re willing to take that risk, but for that amount of money, we’re not willing to take the risk.”…
A perk of working for a university is often the right for a worker’s children to attend free of charge. The benefit was one of the main reasons that Miguel, who declined to give his full name, decided to take a $6 an hour pay cut when he went to work for the custodial department at Sacred Heart University two years ago….But beginning this summer, Miguel’s daughter, who will be a junior in high school this fall, will no longer have the benefit of free tuition at the university because Miguel will no longer be working directly for SHU. The university this summer is outsourcing management of its custodial services to Southeast Service Corp., a Tennessee company and subsidiary of the Compass Group Inc. “SHU has had a working relationship the Compass Group for many years, through its subsidiary Chartwells Dining Services, which consistently receives high marks from the university community,” said Funda Alp, an SHU spokesperson….
Source: Dave Lubach, Facility Maintenance Decisions, June 2014
Part 1: Survey Says: Managers Sound Off on Outsourcing
…More than 500 managers responded to a Facility Maintenance Decisions survey on outsourcing. Their responses and comments also reveal other surprising results about the practice of outsourcing….
Part 2: Managers Indicate Outsourcing Provides Sense of Satisfaction
…One respondent says outsourcing provides “no benefit to our work staff (and) no benefit to management other than looking like they have saved some money.” Another manager moved away from outsourcing “due to high costs and low quality.”…
Part 3: Outsourcing’s Impact on Staff Morale
…The impact of outsourcing on in-house staff morale has long been a topic of debate. In one of the survey’s more surprising findings, 64 percent of the respondents say outsourcing has had no effect on their departments’ morale. Nineteen percent of the managers say outsourcing certain tasks actually has boosted staff morale….
Part 4: Managers Express Outsourcing Concerns
…Respondents had plenty of concerns about starting the outsourcing process, ranging from poor work quality (36 percent), life-cycle considerations (21 percent) and loss of control (20 percent)….
Part 5: Work Quality Common Outsourcing Survey Theme
…Their concerns appear to be well-founded. When asked about problems actually encountered during outsourcing, respondents cited quality of work (22 percent) and scheduling issues (22 percent). Cost savings, a lack of communication with the contractor, and inexperienced front-line technicians are also frequently cited problems….
Part 6: Outsourcing Not Going Away
…Despite the ongoing debate, the survey’s results indicate outsourcing is here to stay and, if anything, its use will increase. About 73 percent of respondents anticipate doing the same amount of or more outsourcing in the upcoming year. Of that total, 49 percent expect to outsource more projects in the next year than this year….
A 24-year-old contract janitor at Anaheim City Hall was arrested last month on suspicion of using a digital camera to secretly record women in a bathroom at the building, police said Thursday night. Simon Carbajal Rosales had been working as a janitor for two years and had access to a number of city buildings, according to the Anaheim Police Department. He was arrested May 23 after an employee found a digital camera in a women’s bathroom, police said. He was also arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing a controlled substance. …
Janitor Arrested In Secret Filming Of Women At Anaheim City Hall Restroom
CBSLA.com, June 13, 2014
A custodian who works for a private cleaning company was arrested after a city employee found a digital camera used to secretly record women in a City Hall restroom, police said.
Employees at the Warren County-owned nursing home received layoff notices this week ahead of a sale of the facility that could close as soon as August. In all, 109 of Warren Haven’s “rank-and-file” were given notice over two days this week, Freeholder Director Ed Smith said Wednesday. Contracted workers did not receive a notice. The notices are part of the sale process after the county approved a $15.6 million bid for the Mansfield Township facility in May. New Jersey’s Civil Service Commission requires a 45-day notice for the employees it covers. Freeholders had asked bidders on the property to consider retaining current staff, a possibility that still remains, Smith said. The bid, submitted by a group call WH Holdings, was awarded at the freeholders’ meeting May 13. At that meeting, a Warren Haven employee asked County Administrator Steve Marvin about the timeline for the sale….
Freeholder Director explains Warren Haven email leaked to press
Source: Emily Cummins, The Warren Reporter, July 24, 2014
Warren County Freeholders stated in an email sent to union officials last week, that the county has “serious doubts” regarding the feasibility of cost-saving measures suggested to save Warren Haven. ” …. “When we had had earlier discussions, we said we were not going to negotiate this in the newspaper,” Freeholder Director Ed Smith said today in response to an article by The Express-Times, stating that he was caught off guard by the distribution of the email. Outlining when negotiations began with the union, Smith said that discussions have been limited. Following a conceptual plan from AFSCME Council 73 that would, according to their research, save the county $2.5 to $3 million by increasing revenues and lowering labor costs, the county’s labor counsel determined that the suggestions were implausible, Smith said….
Warren Haven nursing home sale appears imminent, freeholders say
Source: Edward Sieger, Express-Times, July 23, 2014
In a letter to union officials last week, Warren County gave its clearest signal yet that officials plan to sell the county-run nursing facility. “Warren County continues to maintain that it is in the best interests of both resident care and taxpayers to have a clean break with the Warren Haven Nursing Home,” according to a letter from county labor attorney J. Andrew Kinsey to union officials. The letter was obtained by The Express-Times. The comments came in response to a proposal from AFSCME Council 73 aimed at increasing revenues and lowering labor costs at Warren Haven in an effort to stave off a sale to a private owner. …. The union’s proposal sought to maintain jobs and salaries while ridding the county of pension and health care costs, according to Meara.
LETTER: Warren County’s elderly deserve support, ‘home’
Source: Letters to the Editor, Express Times, July 23, 2014
…Many families are physically unable to care for a wheelchair-bound adult who requires bathing, diapers, feeding, medications and some form of socialization. Some have no families to care for them. The elderly in Warren County pay or have paid taxes, including school taxes, but perhaps have not saved enough to privately pay out close to $100,000 a year for a private nursing home. They do not benefit from the school taxes they pay but as part of a community they support the need for the children in their community. Then why shouldn’t they receive the same support?…
Warren County freeholders, labor leaders talk potential concessions at Warren Haven
Source: Sarah Peters, Express-Times, July 8, 2014
Union leaders who hope to spare Warren Haven, the county-owned nursing home, from privatization floated a rough proposal to county officials early last week. The two sides came to the table July 1 for their first discussion on possible labor concessions, which the Warren Haven Advisory Committee suggested should be complete by March 31. Leaders from both sides were reluctant to discuss details in accordance with an agreement they made not to negotiate through the media. Gerard Meara, executive director of AFSCME Council 73, said the union presented a comprehensive proposal to Freeholder Director Ed Smith, County Administrator Steve Marvin and the county’s labor attorney. He said he hopes to know better what their intentions are when they sit down again at a to-be-scheduled meeting….
Warren County freeholders move toward sale of Warren Haven, despite public objections
Source: Sarah Peters, Express-Times, June 25, 2014
Warren County freeholders unanimously voted tonight to hire a company to market and sell Warren Haven over the objections of county residents and nursing home employees. Residents packed the meeting room to its 65-person capacity, and the crowd spilled over into the vestibule and out the doors of the county administration building tonight. During a lengthy public comment, most begged officials to keep the nursing home under full county control….
GUEST COLUMN: Warren County waging a war on the elderly
Source: CJ Van Gieson, Express-Times, June 18, 2014
In less than one year, using any and every excuse imaginable, the Warren County Freeholders have systematically targeted institutions, facilities and programs serving the elderly. They’ve used deceit and backroom finagling to bring Warren Haven to its knees, blaming peer group funding losses, AFSCME union benefits, and finally callouts by nursing staff to justify freezing admissions. They even deceived the public about the New Jersey First Act which, although it preserves jobs for New Jersey residents, allows out-of-state hiring in hardship cases. Taxpaying elderly, handicapped and veterans seeking respite at Warren Haven are now directed to privatized nursing homes in Phillipsburg, turned away from the familiar place where they’d hoped to live out their days….
Warren County, unions meet to discuss future of Warren Haven nursing home
Source: Edward Sieger, Express-Times, April 6, 2014
Following a few tense weeks that saw Warren County freeholders and union officials publicly spar over the future of Warren Haven, the two sides finally sat down for what was described as a productive meeting. … Since an advisory committee issued suggestions for keeping Warren Haven in county hands, union leaders and freeholders have traded barbs over the report, sick time usage at the facility and the fact that the two sides had yet to meet face to face by March 31 as recommended by the committee. Smith said none of those issues came up Friday as the two sides held a “very reasoned discussion.” County officials explained they want to maintain a publicly owned facility but laid out the parameters necessary to achieve that goal, he said. The two sides also briefly discussed what other services Warren Haven could offer in an effort to increase revenues, Smith said. … Freeholders recently instructed county staff to begin procuring the professional services necessary to sell Warren Haven. Smith said the issue did not come up during Friday’s meeting, and that union negotiations can move on a parallel track with the preliminary stages of what would be a lengthy sale process. …
Warren Haven union blasts county over nursing home recommendations
Source: Edward Sieger, Express-Times, March 5, 2014
Union officials representing Warren Haven employees are accusing the county of just using the specter of labor costs as an excuse to privatize the county-owned nursing home. “If you want to close the facility and look for a bad guy, don’t put that burden on the employees, many of whom have spent their entire working lives at the facility,” said Gerard Meara, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 73. … AFSCME Locals 671 and 3287, which fall under Council 73, represent staff at Warren Haven and other county employees. The Warren Haven Advisory Committee last month released recommendations for keeping the nursing home under county ownership, the most significant of which is labor concessions….
Labor union reps disagree with Freeholders on how to save Warren Haven
Source: Emily Cummins, Warren Reporter, March 5, 2014
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a labor union representing Warren Haven’s workers, issued a press release today that calls into question the report and subsequent recommendations made by the Warren County Advisory Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11.”The report unfairly targets workers, and even speculates about ways to dismantle their union… The committee’s first and most decisive recommendation is to seek significant concessions from workers,” state representatives for AFSCME state in the release…
Editorial: It’s time for serious discussion about selling Warren Haven, Warren County’s nursing home
Source: Express-Times March 5, 2014
The future of Warren Haven, Warren County’s nursing home, is now officially on the clock. Armed with the recommendations of the Warren Haven Advisory Committee, the county freeholders have challenged the union representing workers to sit down and negotiate concessions on salary, health care costs and pension benefits — with the stipulation that significant progress be made by March 31. …
Warren County residents plead for creative solution to financial woes at Warren Haven
Source: Sarah Peters, Express-Times, November 06, 2013
Warren Haven residents, their family members and caretakers pleaded with an advisory committee tonight to find an imaginative solution to privatizing the county-owned nursing home. … A few years ago, the county received $232 per bed per day in Medicaid reimbursement, Olshefski said. Today, the county receives $214, and the rate will drop again to $190 July 1, he said. Privately-paying residents are charged a break-even rate of $285 a day, Olshefski said. Nursing homes around the country, including Gracedale in Northampton County, are facing similar issues, Olshefski said. Unlike their neighbors, Warren County freeholders are limited by the state’s 2 percent cap in how much they can raise in taxes, he said. …
…County residents also asked freeholders to consider a referendum that asks taxpayers whether the county should maintain ownership of Warren Haven similar to a Gracedale ballot question Northampton County voters approved two years ago….
Warren County freeholders privatize some Warren Haven services; workers to be laid-off
Source: Andrew George, Express-Times, March 27, 2013
Warren County freeholders voted unanimously tonight to privatize laundry, housekeeping and dietary services at Warren Haven, a decision that effectively lays off 54 full-time, six part-time and three supervisory staff members. The county will award contracts – $845,000 for laundry and housekeeping services and $1.51 million for dietary services – to Bucks County-based Healthcare Services Group, Inc., which will take over effective July 1….
MASON CITY | The City Council on Tuesday will take another look at a proposal to hire an outside firm to provide janitorial services at City Hall. The proposal to hire Midwest North Iowa Janitorial Services for one year received a 3-2 favorable vote two weeks ago, but it takes four votes to pass a resolution so the measure failed. Councilman Travis Hickey was absent at that meeting and asked that the matter be put back on the agenda…. A committee of city employees looked at options and determined Midwest North Iowa Janitorial could provide the service at a savings of $2,493 from what Buckman was paid. In addition, the janitorial service would do window cleaning which was not part of Buckman’s job and had to be hired out….
Tuscarora School District Board of Education will vote Monday on adopting the 2014-15 district budget. …. To bring the tax increase down, the board has gone through with various cost-saving measures that will save the district about $600,000 for 2014-15. According to Business Manager Eric Holtzman, they include …. insourcing maintenance tasks that were previously completed by outside companies. There were other things as well….
Committee will make recommendation on fate of director of facilities in Tuscarora
Source: Amber South, publicopinionnews.com, March 24, 2014
Tuscarora school board will hold off on deciding whether or not to cut the position of director of facilities operations.
School board President Clifford Smith announced at the special board meeting Monday that the buildings and grounds committee would instead review the administration’s recommendation to cut the position, and make their own recommendation to the school board, likely at the April board meeting. The school board made the decision in an executive session prior to Monday’s meeting.
In a packet provided at the meeting, Superintendent Charles Prijatelj stated that eliminating the position could save the district $559,994 over five years.
His original recommendation to cut the director of facilities operations, held by Stanley Morgan, followed many weeks of contemplation over outsourcing the entire department of maintenance and custodial workers. The school board even voted to solicit bids on three options to make that happen.
“As it stands now, the board has decided that is not the way we want to go,” Smith said. ….
…Quinn added that the director of facilities “gives the district continuity” in working with contractors, and “is our watchdog” by ensuring contractors do what they are paid to do.
“It would be premature and imprudent to eliminate the facilities director position,” she said.
But according to Prijatelj, per the information packet, the position “is a redundant position that was created to deal with construction manager type tasks. At this time, our construction/renovation projects represent no more than 10 to 15 days of consultation work a year. Even with the proposed insourcing of maintenance services, this position is an unneeded luxury.” …