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School board to spend $26,000 more for custodial services as matter of ‘safety’

Criminal background checks conducted annually on employees as opposed to only at the hire date are worth more than $25,000 to Washington County Board of Education members, who awarded the custodial contract to SSC Service Solutions primarily for that reason.
During their April 4 meeting, school board members discussed the three bids received.
During a recent meeting of the Bid Review Committee, Chad Williams’ motion to award the contract to the low bidder and current custodial company, Facilico, did not receive a second. A motion was then made to bring the issue to the full board for a decision.
Keith Ervin made a motion to award the contract to Rite Way Service for $682,000 based on it having a larger number of employees than Facilico.
“The bid is $6,000 more (than Facilico), but it would put more people in the schools to do a better job,” he said.
The motion was seconded by Todd Ganger, but the vote ended in a tie with Williams, Bill Brinkley, Mary Lo Silvers and David Hammond opposed. BOE Chair Clarence Mabe broke the tie with another opposing vote, and the motion failed.
“What I like about Service Solutions is the annual criminal background checks, not just when (employees) are hired,” Hammond said. “There is often a higher turnover in part-time workers, and I see it as a safety issue.”
Williams said minutes of the Facilities Committee meetings and evaluations from the principals indicate no problems with the current provider. “Early on, I had complaints, but they were corrected,” he said. “I can’t see us going out on a limb spending money we don’t have if we got good evaluations from the principals. Why do we take evaluations?”
Ganger agreed there were problems with Facilico in the beginning. “I remember bidding (the contract), but we kept them,” he said. “We bid it out again and went with another company, and got sued by Facilico.”
The board wasn’t happy with the performance two or three years ago, but that has changed, Ganger said. “When threatened (by the possibility of losing the contract), they straightened up,” he said.
Phillip McLain reminded the board it had to hire a staff person to oversee the janitorial services. “The cost is more than the bid,” he said.
Brinkley said he was struggling with the decision to change providers. “My view is, if it’s that bad, why aren’t the principals telling us?” he asked.
Silvers said she has never received a complaint about the cleaning service. “I agree with Chad 100 percent,” she said.
Hammond made a motion to award the contract for one year to SSC Service Solutions for $701,623. Jack Leonard seconded the motion, which passed with Silvers, Brinkley, Williams and Mabe opposed.