Thursday, January 6, 2011
Board votes to rebid janitorial services
By SUE WATSON
A topic of much discussion by city leaders has taken a new turn.
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen approved a motion to rebid all janitorial services for the city and for the utility department during the December 21 meeting.
Two bids that had been tabled until further discussion were rejected and aldermen voted the services be rebid with specifications drawn up by the director of public works. That vote to rebid was then vetoed by Mayor Andre’ DeBerry on December 31.
The bids that were opened and tabled would have provided for janitorial service, excluding floor waxing, at a high bid of $1,026 a month and a low bid of $1,000 a month.
Alderman Russell Johnson moved December 21 to bring the matter back to the agenda.
He said with the current provider of janitorial services being paid $1,800 a month for both housekeeping and floor waxing, the city would have saved close to $800 a month by removing the floor waxing from the contract. Johnson argued that buildings did not need wax stripping and new wax anymore often than twice a year. Schools typically strip and wax only twice a year, he said. Under the bid the contractor would have supplied their own cleaning supplies as well, while the utility or city has been providing the supplies under the present contract.
Mayor DeBerry, who has voiced opposition to rebidding for the janitorial services, argued:
• Employees who may have been dissatisfied with the level of performance should have passed the concerns up to his office so the provider could have addressed the concerns.
• When the contract specifications went out to bid for a new contract, the scope of the work had been changed and waxing was removed from the bid, the mayor said.
Utility general manager Don Hollingsworth said waxing was removed from the contract and was to be bid separately. He said he took waxing from the bid because it would “cloud the issue.”
• The cost of waxing included light buffing of floors and some floors were waxed monthly, but not an entire building at once. The mayor said how often a floor is waxed or buffed depends on the quality of the flooring.
More highly trafficked areas - like the police station and technology center - would require stripping more often. DeBerry said he did not intend to bid out the work piecemeal.
“I agree,” said Johnson.
He suggested the city look at the entire job and which buildings would be serviced under the contract, then rebid all the cleaning services in one bid package. He added, the board of aldermen would reserve the right to reject all bids or quotes if prices seemed to be outside the budget for cleaning.
Johnson offered a motion to rewrite the work specifications and to rebid for janitorial services to all buildings that had been cleaned with professional services.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun agreed with the mayor that the current company should have received a notice if someone complained about the service, thereby giving the provider an opportunity to correct the situation.
“At least bring the facts to me,” said DeBerry.
Johnson said a red flag went up when the quality of services was brought up and the services were rebid.
“I want to make sure we are getting quality cleaning at the best price for Holly Springs,” he said.
He reiterated that he thought $800 a month or close to $9,600 a year, was too steep for floor waxing. Then he restated his motion.
Alderman Calvin James asked why the multi-purpose building was not included in the contract.
“This is a place being used by the public and it needs to be cleaned by janitorial services, too,” he said.
City clerk Belinda McDonald said the multi-purpose building cleaning was not in the recreation department’s budget.
“You are adding to the scope of the work,” DeBerry said.
“All we are doing is looking,” said Johnson.
“A quote or bid?” asked the mayor.
“Whatever would be appropriate,” said Johnson. “I’m just trying to see comparative prices. Are we saving or spending money? We just want to look before we decide. Just because we get a price does not mean we have to do it.”
The mayor said the city is barely breaking even on event costs at the multi-purpose building and could be losing ground.
“I’m just saying it needs to be cleaned properly, because it is not,” said James.
“Just look,” said Johnson.
“We need to set up parameters going forward (for addressing complaints about quality of service),” the mayor said.
“Your point is well taken,” said James. “If it’s a problem, it should have been noted.”
With discussion at a standstill, Johnson’s motion was passed to obtain bids or quotes for professional custodial services to include all buildings that would be listed and to include floor waxing.
The mayor and aldermen met again Tuesday night.
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