Posted: Monday, July 21st 2014 at 9:30pm
Gainesville Schools settle on custodial provider
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – The Gainesville City School Board wants clean school buildings. Period…simple…but not easily achieved. However, their protracted ride on the ‘janitorial Ferris wheel’ might be coming to an end.
School Maintenance and Operations Director Adrian Niles told the School Board at Monday night’s meeting that he feels his department has found the right company that will do the job expected.
“After going round and round and changing contractors, you know this will be the third time in about sixteen or eighteen months,” Niles explained, “the service we wanted is higher than the industry standard.”
“We want the service that we want to pay for and we’re willing to pay for the service that we want,” Niles said as Board members nodded in understanding.
That expectation has been difficult to meet. Tenth months ago the Board told representatives from then custodial service provider, Southern Management, that they weren’t doing the job
(Click here for that story); that administrators from their schools were not satisfied with the janitorial services being provided by Southern Management.
Southern Management agreed to implement changes but within the year it became obvious that expectations weren’t being met.
“So we moved forward with terminating that contract,” Niles said.
Niles said that the struggles of the past two years had taught his team some valuable lessons, lessons that would help them in their search for a new service vendor.
“We started out of with twelve different bidders - narrowed it down from the twelve to four for interview - then we narrowed it down to two from the four,” Niles told the Board.
“Both companies, I believe, can do the job that we want done. Both companies are nationwide; both companies do quite a bit of work here in Georgia. So it boils down to cost plus the number of porters (custodians).”
Niles again emphasized the high standards of cleaning that the system was seeking. “We want an ‘A-service’, we want to specify and pay for an ‘A-class-service’,” Niles said.
Niles recommended to the Board the proposal of $4,201,969 made by GCA Services Group, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. The contract will be for three years with an annual renewal option by the School Board.
The recommendation was approved unanimously.
Board member Dr. Delores Diaz told Niles, “We’ve been through a very difficult time with our providers and we do have higher standards than most, so I’m very happy you kept that foremost in your mind.”
Chairwoman Maria Calkins underscored their focus. “In a way I feel like everybody is very clear about what we need and what we want.”
Nile said after the vote, “GCA will come on board tomorrow. We’re going to…have a job fair on Wednesday at 5PM at the Gainesville Middle School.”
“Current employees,” Niles added, “would be offered firsthand employment opportunities. The current employee...can have the opportunity of signing up and getting into the company.”
Calkins said that aspect was vital. “They don’t know and they wonder if they will be considered and hired again, I’d rather that they know immediately and that those flyers get posted.” Niles agreed.
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