Custodial services provided by around 100 East Tennessee State University employees could be outsourced to a third party company, according to a university spokesman, a move that would save the benefits costs.
ETSU spokesman Joe Smith confirmed these reports that came to the attention of the Johnson City Press Friday afternoon.
The outsourcing would only be for custodial services and would not affect other employees in the university physical plant.
“If we were to outsource custodial services, our plan would be for each ETSU custodial service employee to have the opportunity to transfer to the new company at his/her current hourly rate,” Smith said in an email. “Also, we likely would offer those long-time employees who have been with ETSU for a considerable number of years and are nearing retirement to remain on our payroll under the current retirement plan.”
Smith said the school is only looking at the possibility of contracting custodial services and that there is no time table for a decision to be made.
Asked how much savings the school could realize with this move, Smith said it was too early to say.
“That will be the question that will ultimately determine whether this is something we want to do,” he said. “It’s also just as important that we maintain the quality of work that’s being done here.”
ETSU President Brian Noland has said previously that the school is looking for ways to save money.
Smith said most universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, the system that governs ETSU, already outsource custodial services. Campus food services and the on-campus bookstore are already operated by third party vendors.
No final decision has been made, Smith said, but the school is in discussions with two state contractors that could provide the needed services.