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Budget Forces Reduction Of Facilities Management Services

September 18, 2002-- To meet an expected reduction of more than $1 million in state funding, the University of Virginia’s Division of Facilities Management will reduce custodial services, maintenance services and classroom and landscape improvements beginning next week, Robert P. Dillman, chief facilities officer, announced today. The latest budget reductions are in addition to a 4.6 percent cut already built into Facilities Management’s current year operating budget and a 77 percent reduction in maintenance reserve funding.

Custodial service will be limited to classrooms, restrooms, corridors, and other public spaces in University-owned and academic facilities. Because individual offices and laboratories will not be cleaned on a regular basis, individual office trash receptacles should be placed in the corridors where the custodians will empty them. University departments also may note a change in the staff supporting their facility as Facilities Management reorganizes to accommodate these changes. This reduction in custodial services will result in the termination of two contracted cleaning services and a significant reduction in services rendered by a third.

To maintain the current level of support for maintenance service calls, frequency of some preventive maintenance work will be reduced.

“We know these changes will create some frustrations for our customers, as well as for us,” Dillman said. “For example, we expect to receive an increased number of service calls due to failures associated with less frequent maintenance. Our staff will be as responsive as possible, but the result, unfortunately, will very likely be longer waits for service.” Some less-essential maintenance work will be put on a waiting list until funds are available, he said.

State-funded landscape improvements have already been eliminated and safety and security improvements have been significantly reduced. The limited remaining classroom improvement funds will be focused on repair of existing classroom furnishings. Funds will not be available to replace furnishings this year. Those who use classrooms are urged to continue to treat them responsibly.

“Reductions in service run counter to our mission to provide the very best learning, research, and health care physical environment,” Dillman said. “Facilities Management will work to provide the best possible support, and will work with our customers to meet special needs.”

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Facilities Management Reductions Fact Sheet
In order to manage the pending budget reductions, Facilities Management will take steps to reduce the cost of custodial services in Academic Division (non-Medical Center) facilities. Though the amount of the budget reduction is not final, all the current scenarios are severe enough that we must act now to minimize the impact on University employees and buildings This means severely curtailing the amount of cleaning done by three custodial contractors.

What specific actions are being taken?
We will eliminate two contracted cleaning services – Service Management Systems and WorkSource Enterprises – and significantly reduce the contract of a third firm, Turner Cleaning.

What is the impact on each contractor?
The Turner Cleaning contract will be reduced to less than half of its current value.

The Service Management Systems and WorkSource Enterprises contracts will be stopped.

There is also an impact on UVA custodial staff. There will be reassignment of duties in order to clean the space currently cleaned by the contractors. The cleaning frequency for some areas, such as offices, will be reduced to keep the individual workload at an appropriate level.

How many people are impacted by this budget reduction?
Current understanding is that:
Service Management Systems has (5) FULL TIME and (4) PART TIME employees;
Turner Cleaning has (2) FULL TIME and (11) PART TIME employees; and
WorkSource Enterprises has (7) FULL TIME employees working at the University.

When will this take effect?
The contracts provide for the University to terminate with 30 days notice, so this will take effect around mid-October.

Were there other options besides reducing custodial contracts?
Custodial work is labor intensive. More than 90 percent of the cost is in labor, so cutting the budget means the cutting of hours devoted to the work. The University is doing everything within reason to avoid laying off state employees. Thus, we will be reducing custodial contracts as a means to protect University employees. Our custodial contractors have done an excellent job for us, and we would like to have them back working at the University.

Why are we reducing custodial services instead of maintenance services?
We are actually reducing both. While we are reducing some maintenance services, we recognize that the impact of a reduced custodial operation will not have the long-lasting effect that negligence in maintenance could cause.

Contact: Betty Wooding, (434) 924-5846

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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