Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Chelmsford district’s new custodial system earns high marks

Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, August 15, 2016

Driven by dissatisfaction with the level of cleanliness, high turnover and a history of employee thefts, school officials chose earlier this year to end their contract with Aramark, the company that cleaned the schools since custodians were outsourced in 2011. They opted instead to institute a hybrid model: In-district custodians clean the schools during the day and contracted vendors provide services at night. Curley was hired to provide oversight and ensure accountability. A day custodian was hired at each elementary and middle school. Three hired at Chelmsford High will work on staggered shifts to ensure full week and weekend coverage at the district’s busiest school, Lang said. He said a few of the 10 new custodians are former Aramark employees who had good relationships with their schools and wished to stay. Advanced Maintenance Solutions Inc. of Beverly was hired to clean the Byam, Center, Harrington and South Row elementary schools, the Westlands School and the central administration building. S.J. Services Inc. of Danvers was hired to clean McCarthy and Parker middle schools. Dynamic Janitorial Cleaning Inc. of Milford was hired to clean the high school. Each vendor has a one-year contract with two- and three-year options. Over the summer, the contractors are busy cleaning the schools from floor to ceiling. The School Department-hired custodians are working with town facilities employees to beautify the grounds and exteriors of each school. ….

Related:

3 contractors to share Chelmsford schools custodial duties
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, April 16, 2016

The School Committee has accepted Superintendent Jay Lang’s recommendation to contract with three smaller cleaning companies to provide nighttime custodial services for Chelmsford schools in fiscal 2017. At a Friday afternoon meeting, the committee voted unanimously to contract with Advanced Maintenance Solutions Inc. S.J. Services, Inc. and Dynamic Janitorial Cleaning Inc. for a combined cost of $733,294. The three companies will provide services at night, while soon-to-be-hired in-house custodians will clean and provide maintenance during the day as part of a new hybrid custodial model. … Aramark was one of 10 companies to submit proposals for the new cleaning contract, but was rejected due to previous concerns. …

Chelmsford schools to alter custodial model
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, February 15, 2016x

Keeping in line with an earlier vote to pursue a hybrid custodial model, the School Committee on Tuesday authorized a request for proposals for nighttime school custodial services. Under the minimum staffing model proposed by Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang in January, the School Department will hire a district-wide director of facility services, a lead day custodian for each building and two junior custodians at Chelmsford High School. The new in-district staff will be responsible for daily operations. Contracted staff will work 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. for each specified day of the contract. …

Chelmsford school board leans toward hybrid custodial-service plan
Source: Robert Mills, Lowell Sun, January 5, 2016

The Chelmsford School Committee took a first step toward returning some, or perhaps even all, of the School Department’s custodians to its payroll Tuesday night due to dissatisfaction with the work of an outside contractor. The committee voted unanimously to authorize Superintendent Jay Lang to prepare a request for proposals from companies that would provide contracted custodians for each of the town’s schools, with those contract custodians working under supervisors employed by the School Department. That leaves the board with the option of eventually choosing a hybrid system of contractors being supervised by in-house employees, or a system in which all custodians are in-house employees. …

Chelmsford school board to take up custodial services
Source: Alana Melanson, Lowell Sun, January 5, 2016

The contract for Aramark, which has provided custodial services for the School Department since it outsourced in 2011, ends on June 30. Since the company was hired, four of its employees have been arrested for alleged thefts from the schools, staff and students, and one of its contractors was arrested on drug charges. In addition to the thefts, many have expressed dissatisfaction with the level of cleanliness in the schools. School Committee Secretary Evelyn Thoren said Lang will present the committee with three options:

  • Continue outsourcing and issue another request for proposals from vendors, cost currently unknown;
  • Bring the custodians completely back in-house, at an estimated $780,000 in personnel costs per year;
  • Create a hybrid of the two, at an estimated annual cost of $362,000 for in-house personnel and an unknown amount for contracted services.

Continue reading

SOCIAL IMPACT BONDS

Source: Jessica Hathaway, NCSL, July 12, 2016
Overview

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), a type of pay-for-success funding agreement, are a private financing mechanism used to fund social programs. SIBs are gaining interest from policymakers at all levels of government as a way to mitigate the simultaneous demands of tight budgets and rising social service costs. To date, state level SIB activity has centered on legislative efforts to authorize the process, create study committees, begin pilot projects, engage in feasibility studies and learn which types of programs this financing tool can be effectively used for. …

Use of Social Impact Bonds at the State Level

At least 24 states and the District of Columbia have considered, are considering or are implementing SIB related projects. Of these, 11 states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah —and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation. Legislative introductions and enactments range from establishing study committees to creating funds and supporting pilot projects. Enacted legislative actions are listed below. …

See list of enacted Social Impact Bond bills.

Taxpayer group heading to court to halt Fall River trash privatization

Source: Jo C. Goode, Herald News, June 27, 2016

On Wednesday, plaintiffs involved in a “Ten Taxpayer Group” lawsuit meant to invalidate the 10-year agreement with EZ Disposal Services will be heading to court in an effort to be granted a temporary restraining order. … Twenty-four city sanitation workers have gotten their pink slips, with their final day of employment being June 30. The fleet of 18 trash trucks still needs to be declared by the City Council as surplus property and then decide how to sell them off. Under state law, the council must attempt to get the best value for the vehicles by either sealed bids or by auction. …

Related:

Viveiros: Breaking privatization pact would cost Fall River as much as $1.67 million
Source: Michael Holtzman, Herald News, June 20, 2016

The termination fee, should the city withdraw from the 10-year privatization contract for trash collection signed 10 days ago, would be “a one-time fee” and peak at $1.67 million in the second year as part of a transition process, City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros said. She said that contract the city had announced and provided with EZ Disposal Service in Revere was purposely backloaded, with the first two years for solid waste and recycling collections costing $3.3 million, and the third year taking a huge jump to $4,473,521. … Under the first-year termination pact with EZ Disposal, the cost of voiding the contract in any month is $798,168, according to fee attachments in a contract totaling more than 70 pages. The contract begins July 1. In Year Two, the early termination fee is $1,678,299 for any month in fiscal 2018. For year three, fiscal 2019, when the expense side jumps almost $1.125 million to $4.47 million, termination fee costs de-escalate from $1.67 million to $1.47 million by the end of the fiscal year. There are cost-of-living increases built from that point forward so that by Year 10, the collection contract is approximately $5.1 million. …

Agreement reached to privatize Fall River trash pickup
Source: Michael Holtzman, Herald News, June 10, 2016

Freshman Mayor Jasiel Correia II took his most significant action to date when he signed an expected 10-year contract to privatize trash hauling with EZ Disposal Service. Conforming to a general agreement from three weeks ago, payments to EZ Disposal, based in Revere, escalate from $3.3 million the first year to $5.1 million in year 10. It is slightly more than a 53 percent increase over a decade. … By privatizing the city’s trash pickup, the administration claims the city would save just under $1.5 million in fiscal 2017 and $8.7 million over the life of the contract. The city’s trash disposal, at a projected $25.5 million, and yard waste disposal of $1.7 million, over 10 years, are not part of this contract. …

After nearly 6 hours of debate, no progress on Fall River trash-hauling issues
Source: Jo C. Goode, Herald News, May 11, 2016

Before the meeting, approximately 100 union members and their supporters stood in protest at Government Center over Correia’s determination to privatize the sanitation program despite cross-complaints of unfair labor practices between the administration and the city sanitation workers. Those complaints are about to be addressed on May 23 before the Department of Labor Relations. With privatization, the administration estimated that 22 sanitation workers will face layoffs. … Correia and the lawyers negotiating for the city had declared an impasse with the Teamsters Local 251 in late April, when they failed to reach an agreement on a new contract within a 30-day deadline set by Correia. The mayor reiterated that they could not reach an agreement and his decision was to privatize after renegotiating an agreement from an original bid with private trash hauler EZ Disposal and Recycling, the company Correia is now in contract negotiations with. …

Teamsters to Battle Fall River’s Move to Privatize Trash Collection
Source: GoLocalProv.com, May 1, 2016

The Teamsters labor union is challenging the City of Fall River’s recent decision to privatize trash collection, saying the city didn’t bargain in good faith — and is taking the fight to the state labor relations board in Massachusetts.  Fall River’s new Mayor, twenty-four year old Jasiel Correia lauded the move in a recent Facebook post touting his accomplishments in his first year in office —but the Teamsters Local 251, who represents the city’s trash collectors, said that it is taking the fight to the Massachusetts Labor Relations Board in a meeting scheduled for May 23. …

Fall River privatizes trash; Workers angered at union
Source: Adam Bagni, NBC 10 News, April 12, 2016

The mayor of Fall River announced Tuesday that the city’s controversial pay-as-you-throw trash program will stay in place, but will undergo numerous changes. Mayor Jasiel Correia also announced that he’s privatizing the city’s trash services, which will cost some city workers their jobs. … Residents will still have to pay for city-labeled purple bags, but a $10 monthly household fee will be dropped. … Meanwhile, the city says the privatization of trash services will save it $1.5 million in its first year and $8.7 million over 10 years. The mayor claimed 73 percent of Gateway Cities have privatized their trash services, because they can’t keep up with regulations costs. Trash removal will be handled by EZ Disposal Service of Revere, which will also purchase the city’s equipment for $1.1 million. Correia said he tried to bargain with city workers, but their union wouldn’t budge on disagreements over management. He claims wages weren’t an issue. … About 25 to 30 city workers will be affected by the move, but the mayor said the contractor has agreed to hire most of them, if they’re willing.

School sends Uber to pick up special needs student

Source: WHDH, May 19, 2016

Nicole Williams said her 13-year-old daughter Arianna was supposed to start school Thursday at The Boston Center in Allston, a school that helps students with emotional and behavioral issues. Williams said a school bus was supposed to come and bring Arianna to school. Not only did the ride arrive late, Williams said the school sent an Uber to pick up her daughter. Williams said she was “disgusted” and did not let the driver take Arianna. … Williams drives a school van for a living. She said the background checks for school bus drivers and Uber drivers are different and that you have to be 18 years old to use Uber. In a statement, The Boston Center said that their transportation company sent an Uber due to a lack of available drivers. The school said this is not acceptable and if this happens again, they will not use the company anymore. …

Morton Hospital bans psych subcontractor in wake of rampage

Source: Jennifer Miller, Boston Herald, May 12, 2016

“Effective today, Morton Hospital has banned the state selected sub-contractor Norton Emergency Services AKA Taunton Attleboro Emergency Services (NES/TAES) from evaluating or recommending treatment for any patient at Morton Hospital,” Morton Hospital spokesperson Michele Fasano said in a statement. “During the period of 12:30A.M. to 8:00 A.M. this morning, NES/TAES failed to evaluate multiple patients in our Emergency Department in a timely way and when Morton Hospital proposed to do the evaluations ourselves we were rebuffed or ignored by the subcontractor. This inability of the state subcontractor to provide critical and timely services continues to put patients at risk.” … Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders told the Herald yesterday the Department of Public Health is investigating procedures at Morton Hospital, where relatives say a depressed and delusional Arthur DaRosa, 28, checked in Monday night but was discharged early Tuesday morning to the family’s surprise. Authorities say DaRosa then stabbed two people in a home on Myricks Street — killing an 80-year-old woman and injuring her daughter — Tuesday night before driving four miles, crashing a car into the front entrance of a Macy’s department store at the Silver City Galleria, and getting out to attack several others, including inside a restaurant, killing a 56-year-old teacher, authorities said.

“NES/TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth and is charged by law with the responsibility of evaluating MassHealth patients who enter the Morton Hospital Emergency Department,” Fasano said in the statement. “Morton Hospital has previously advocated to utilize our own hospital credentialed and vetted medical personnel to conduct such evaluations as it does with Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, and other payers. However, state policy has mandated that these evaluations be carried out by third party subcontractors such as NES/TAES. …

Northampton city council votes to ban privatization of the city’s water system

Source: Lucas Ropek, MassLive, May 5, 2016

The Northampton City Council voted Thursday night to ban the privatization of the city’s water system, according to 22News. The council voted 8 to 1 to pass an ordinance sponsored by Ward 3 councilor Ryan O’Donnell, as well as by Mayor David Narkewicz, that makes it illegal for the city’s water to “be sold, leased or transferred into private ownership.” The city was not considering privatization, but the council wanted to formalize a commitment to maintaining a public water supply. …

Related:

Northampton city councilor proposes law that would ban water system privatization
Source: Laura Newberry, MassLive, May 3, 2016

The City Council will consider an ordinance Thursday that would prohibit the city’s water system from being privatized. The proposed regulation, sponsored by Ward 3 councilor Ryan O’Donnell and co-sponsored by Mayor David Narkewicz, would make it unlawful for the city’s water assets to be sold or run by a private company. … Narkewicz said that to his knowledge, no city official or councilor has ever suggested selling Northampton’s water system to a corporate entity. Still, he said, the ordinance is an “important statement.” … The Northampton City Council recently approved a capital plan that allots nearly $8 million for water and sewer improvements over the next five years.  The city was awarded in 2015 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for its watershed program, specifically its acquisition of 81 acres of additional watershed lands in Hatfield and Whately. The DEP also honored Northampton for its water conservation and management efforts.

‘Walk-Ins’ Held At Boston Schools To Protest Budget Cuts, Charter School Impact

Source: CBS Boston, May 4, 2016

Students, parents and educators from several schools in and around Boston held “walk-ins” before school on Wednesday to protest budget cuts and the allocation of money to charter schools. Demonstrators rallied outside schools before classes began, holding signs and chanting. Leading up to the protest, organizers claimed that charter schools will “siphon off $119,405,100 in funds that would otherwise stay in the Boston Public Schools, and be used to improve learning for all students.” … WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler reported that students and teachers from 50 Boston schools and 80 cities total participated in the walk-ins. … Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker proposed a bill that would allow the state to add up to 12 new or expanded charter schools each year.

Related:

The Great Diversion
Source: Gabrielle Gurly, The Nation, April 7, 2016

Boston’s majority-minority public school system is the largest in the state, with nearly 57,000 students. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the sole authorizer of charter schools, recently approved the addition of more than 1,000 seats in several of the city’s existing charter schools. That expansion means that the district will have to transfer millions more in new charter-school tuition payments, on top of the nearly $120 million that already flows from district schools to the publicly financed, independently run charter schools. Supporters of the Bay State’s traditional public schools have launched a new fight against a bifurcated system that they argue steers public dollars away from district schools across the commonwealth. … Massachusetts currently has 81 charter schools. (Current state law caps the permitted number at 120.) Of the more than 950,000 public school students in the state, 40,200 (4.2 percent) attend charter schools. A school district’s payments to these schools are designed to not exceed 9 percent of its net expenditures. In the state’s poorest-performing districts, the amount cannot exceed 18 percent. But that could change with the ballot initiative, and Massachusetts’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, is a big supporter of charter-school expansion. … According to a Massachusetts Teachers Association statewide analysis of fiscal 2016 net tuition payments to charter schools, traditional public school districts are losing nearly $409 million to charters, out of total net school spending by these districts of about $11.6 billion.

Rochester officials put ambulance privatization inquiry on ice

Source: Michael DeCicco, South Coast Today, April 28, 2016

Members of the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services staff crowded the selectmen’s meeting room to oppose a plan to investigate privatizing the town’s medical response services through an outside company. Selectmen agreed by a 2-1 vote to indefinitely table action on such a plan after Fire Chief Scott Weigel argued that privatizing the town’s emergency medical services would be costly to the town and might lack the quality of service the department currently provides. … He said since the town agreed to switching to ADL services, there has been a deficit between the expenses it has incurred and the revenues it has recovered. The town pays salaries and for equipment, expenses that should covered through insurance collections and other billing. However, he said, the town’s net cost for EMS services in FY 2014 was $95,000; while in FY 2015 its pricetag was $201,000. Several weeks ago, he proposed investigating the cost of privatizing, sparked by information from Town Administrator Michael McCue that the town of Wenham uses a private ambulance service that in part recovers all insurance reimbursements on its own.

School bus driver on leave after driving with man hanging on mirror

Source: John R. Ellemont, Boston Globe, April 1, 2016

The driver of a Boston school bus is on paid leave after being captured on cellphone video Thursday afternoon driving with a man hanging onto his passenger-side mirror while children were on the bus. The driver worked for a contractor, Transdev, which runs the district’s bus system, the Boston Public Schools said. The driver’s decision to drive forward with the man on the mirror is under investigation by police and the School Department, officials said. …

Bump okays privatization of SEMass mental health services

Source: New Boston Post, March 31, 2016

In a win for the Baker administration, Auditor Suzanne Bump on Wednesday approved the privatization of government mental health services in southeastern Massachusetts, citing $7 million in savings and drawing a sharp rebuke from a union president who says the clearance threatens critical services. The Department of Mental Health’s privatization proposal affects emergency mental health services in a region covering Brockton, Fall River, the Taunton and Attleboro areas, and Cape Cod and the Islands. Under the proposal, the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) will contract with Bay Cove Human Services Inc. and Community Counseling of Bristol County to provide services. … To assess the quality of services under a private contractor, Bump’s staff visited facilities and met with community members, department officials and MBHP officials. The auditor determined that all services currently provided will be provided under the MBHP model “but at a lower costs while maintaining the same quality.”

Related:

Auditor OKs plan to privatize some mental health services
Source: Associated Press, March 30, 2016

State Auditor Suzanne Bump has approved a proposal from the state Department of Mental Health to privatize emergency mental health services in the department’s southeastern region. Bump said Wednesday the change could save $7 million over one year. … The area includes Brockton, Cape Cod and the Islands, Fall River, Taunton and Attleboro. Under the proposal, the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership will contract with Bay Cove Human Services, Inc., a Boston Medical Center subcontractor, and Community Counseling of Bristol County to provide the services.