Thursday, January 13, 2011
City leaders rehash custodial services
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs mayor and aldermen, with a short agenda, revisited the end of the year veto by Mayor Andre’ DeBerry of a motion by the board to rebid custodial services.
DeBerry brought the matter up, saying he has no opposition to the concept of putting the custodial services out to bid, but it should not be rebid until October this year when city services are rebid. The mayor said the motion to rebid for custodial services for all buildings, particularly pointing out the addition of the Eddie Lee Smith Multi-Purpose Building to the list, had elevated the issue to the once-a-year process of bidding city services. He argued that the process of procurement of services should remain consistent.
Alderman Russell Johnson, a main advocate for rebidding the custodial services to save money, asked the mayor when the city bid for custodial services.
“When did we accept the old contract agreement with Miracle Workers Cleaning?” Johnson asked.
DeBerry said Johnson and alderman Garrie Colhoun would have been the only current aldermen serving on the board at the time.
“My point is we have not approved them; especially the prices are out of line,” Johnson said.
Mayor DeBerry said Johnson’s opinion was subjective, the scope of the work has been changed, and contractual services are bid at the same time every year.
Johnson said the contract with Miracle Workers Cleaning had not been rebid when city services were bid.
“I think you are selectively doing this,” said the mayor. “You added the multi-purpose building and this changed. You said you wanted it to be city services. You changed the tone and tenor. My point is process and point in time.”
Alderman Calvin James asked the mayor if the bid has to wait until the summer.
“My point is to add it to services and bid with all the others,” DeBerry said. “My point is if you start the bid process it will be one to three months and then you would bid again.”
“Wouldn’t circumstances dictate?” James asked.
“The issue is where did circumstances arrive from?” said the mayor.
“My reason is the volume and usage (at the multi-purpose building) is the reason,” James said.
“The bid process was triggered because some board members say they have heard an overwhelming voice that something needs to be done,” DeBerry said. “No department heads have complained. I would think between four and five buildings, somebody would have said something to me. I am not debating the product, but the process. You’ve got to have a system and all I say is do it at the proper time and everything is consistent. Everything is kosher.”
“We have a problem and we have to wait 10 months?” said Johnson.
DeBerry said there was no threat or danger or safety issue by waiting.
“All we are dealing with is hearsay and rhetoric,” he said. “We can only deal with facts and documentation.”
Johnson said he mainly wanted to see if the city was getting the best price for cleaning. Waxing floors at the utility department was costing the city $9,600 a year and the city could be saving 30 percent on custodial services at the utility building alone. He suggested if Miracle Workers is charging similar prices for cleaning other buildings, the city could be paying $24,000 too much a year. He asked to make a motion to override DeBerry’s veto.
The mayor objected on the basis that only one building out of four had been cited as deficient and that he had not been advised of a complaint about quality of service.
He said complaints had been lodged at only one building out of four.
Johnson said he could not get a sure answer on how much the city is paying for custodial services at all buildings now.
“Can we motion to override the veto?” he asked again.
Alderman Johnnie Ree Bagley agreed, saying the claims docket does not clearly state which departments are paying how much for cleaning.
Johnson asked if the board has the right to override the veto after more information is provided.
“Is there a time line on overriding the veto?” he asked.
DeBerry said there is time to look at the billing and a vote to override can be made until the minutes are approved.
Alderman Harvey Payne asked how matters get on the agenda.
“I can’t understand how we got that far, if it was approved for the agenda,” he said, meaning that the mayor had to have known about and approved the rebid of custodial services at the utility department.
DeBerry said the whole picture was changed when the board motioned to rebid janitorial services for all buildings on the list and added the multi-purpose building.
“When you are talking about spending $24,000, I can’t help being a tight wad,” Johnson said.
DeBerry said the figures the city pays now for custodial services by building will be provided this week.
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