Sunday, August 29, 2010

Following Up on Board Agenda Items

I went back and looked at some of the items on the Board agenda for Wednesday.

Before the meeting, they are having a Work Session on maintenance. I'll just have to make the effort to go because, on the one hand, they allowed the head of Maintenance to buy some new software and hire a couple of temporary(?) people to organize all the backlogged maintenance. (Yes, I know; it's 2010 and our district really has no idea how much needs to be done, where, and in order of need.) There was this idea that we would have one or two zone crews to go out and get one school's needs done in one shot.

On the other hand, the district has just laid off 7 of the 14 maintenance workers (a pretty big hit for any department). So that backlogged maintenance? Either we are going to contract it out or there's going to be a lot of waiting.

Now contracting it out has problems. First, the volume of work is such that it makes sense to have your own in-house people. Second, you can certainly hire non-union folks (and maybe save some money) but sadly, our district doesn't always hire licensed and bonded people.

(There was the time they hired people from some day-worker company when there were teachers and students in a building during the summer. The day-workers had access to the entire building. You don't want someone wandering the building who has had no background checks done. There are many dangers in that route.)

Third, why so many people out of maintenance? It's strange how the central administration grows (and yet by some logic at SPS is decreasing) and yet we will have fewer workers to repair our schools.

As far as the 3 BTA III contracts to be voted on, there's something troubling here. One, where are the contracts for Sand Point and McDonald? Now back in March 2010, there was a placeholder one for Sand Point but I can't find that it ever came through. McDonald had one for a modest $742K but where's the contract for the big stuff to be done (McDonald being the building needing the most work)?

Two, the contracts on the agenda for Viewlands, Rainier View and Queen Anne Elementary don't mention that this is only part of what was named on the BTA III list. Meaning, the money for Viewlands' contract - $4.5M - is right on target with its backlogged maintenance. But, Facilities allotted $11M for its reopening.

Rainier View, on the other hand, has $4.6M in estimated backlogged maintenance but this contract is only for $3.1M (and the BTA III has them down for $7.4M overall). Queen Anne Elementary doesn't show up on the backlogged maintenance list so I'm not sure of what they need but they are getting $3.5M out of the $7.5M listed from BTA III.

I would like to say that I'm sure each school will get what was allotted to it but like the shifting sands of time, so is the money in Facilities. If you have a child going to one of these schools, I'd track this and make sure your facility gets everything due it given how great the need is at these reopening schools.

4 comments:

Josh Hayes said...

You're not kidding about McDonald. That place looks like it was caught in the crossfire of some internecine squabble. I can't believe that roughly 3/4 of a million comes even close to getting it back on line.

PN said...

What with the shuffling around of administrators and creating new jobs for them it's a wonder there will be any money left for maintaining the schools. Fred Pamanog ran the Work Management department into the ground yet he gets a brand new job at the same pay. Meanwhile they are moving Theresa Salmon in to run the Work Management Department. To my knowledge she has absolutely zero experience in Work Management and maintenance issues. Previously, she has been secretary for the Facilities manager, (contracted out) Copy Center manager (one of 2 replacing 1 low level position PRIOR to the contracting out), headquarters “building manager” (previously a function done by the head of custodial department) and “Trip reduction” coordinator.
Also, Frank Griffin continues his job hopping. Three years ago he oversaw 350 people in Custodial and Grounds. He was demoted to just overseeing about 35 people due to his lack of management skills (he got to keep his same pay rate). Now he will be running the new zone crew (what 12 people?) probably the same pay still. He has been bouncing around for decades and has yet to find an administrative position he can actually handle.

Observer said...

There are about 90 employees (excluding central office) in Maintenance so the 7 do not seem like such a cut.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Observer, this is for the manual work area in Maintenance. Plumbing, electrical, etc. didn't take a hit. It seems like a lot for one area but if they want to have plumbers fill in for the manual laborers, sure.