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County school board OKs contract after ignoring committee

Jennifer Sprouse • Apr 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

The Washington County Board of Education approved a bid for the contract of the schools’ cleaning service from SSC Service Solutions on Thursday night after the Bid Review Committee had recommended accepting a bid from another firm.

Board member Keith Ervin, after reading the Bid Review Committee’s report to the board, motioned that the board accept Right Way Services as the contract employee for the school system since the cleaning service had more employees than the other listed bidders.

While Right Way was shown to have more employees, some of those listed were reportedly part-time workers, which raised concerns from board member David Hammond.

He said he had inquired with Right Way and low bidder Facilico, as well as the other companies that bid, about background checks, and said SSC Service Solutions required a yearly background check on all employees, rather than just one time.

“The least price is not always your best option, especially when you are getting more man power,” Hammond said. “What I like about Service Solutions is, yes, there are less employees, but they go through a criminal background (check) yearly. With part-time employees, a lot of time you have a higher amount of turnover, which concerns me because they are in the building with the children.”

Vice Chairman Chad Williams brought up to the board that in the bid process they didn’t require the number of man hours or number of employees to clean the schools.

“Based on our evaluations that we received from the principals, who are the administrators of the school, based on the fact Facilico was the lowest bid, based on the fact our budget looks to be in the shape it’s in, we didn’t require a number of man hours, we didn’t require a number of employees,” Williams said. “We required that the schools be cleaned nightly. What it boils down to is ... what the final cost is going to be to the system.”

He suggested to the board that it accept Facilico, as it was the lowest bid.

Chairman Clarence Mabe said the motion to approve Right Way needed to go to a vote, and the motion did not pass.

Hammond then motioned for Service Solution to receive the bid, which brought up concerns over original bid specifications from the company regarding a five-year contract they had placed when the bid opened. Some board members’ concern was whether the cost of the bid changed, even though certain exceptions, like the five-year contract, were dropped.

Service Solutions Sales Director Matt Cooter was present at the meeting and said there is no change in price and the exceptions put in the original bid from the company were standard procedure.

“We removed the exceptions. It’s a standard exception that we take as a company and so there’s no change to the cost of the program whatsoever. We’re paying for the startup, we’re paying for the equipment that we purchased for this job,” Cooter said. “We’ve withdrawn that and we were just requesting consideration of those items.”

The motion to accept Service Solutions’ bid of $701,623 for a one-year period was passed by the board on a 5 to 4 vote.

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