The County Commission considered such a move in 2015, but voted against it at the time.
Flagler County will eliminate its 15.5-position in-house janitorial staff and instead hire an outside contractor, American Janitorial Inc., to provide janitorial services for county facilities such as the Government Service Building on State Road 100 in Bunnell.
The move would save the county about $115,000 per year in salary costs, plus additional cost savings associated with the equipment and uniforms the county provided to its janitorial staff. The county considered such a move in 2015, but then-commissioner Barbara Revels argued against it, and the proposal wasn’t enacted.
This year, the County Commission voted unanimously in favor of the change.
The positions, most paid at about $10 per hour, have high turnover — about 20% per year — and continuously vetting potential new employees costs the county resources, according to a staff memo on the proposal. Four of the positions are currently vacant. Meanwhile, the current staff can’t handle certain functions.
One resident, George Mayo, spoke during the Feb. 5 commission meeting’s public comment period to challenge the necessity of eliminating the county jobs, saying that cutting jobs might have hidden costs if the displaced workers end up needing various forms of public assistance.
“Those jobs are really entry level jobs; they don’t pay very much,” County Commission Chairman Greg Hansen replied. “There is some cost savings, but more importantly, the way it is structured now, we’re really not getting the job done. We’re not cleaning our carpets, we’re not waxing our floors, because we just don’t have the people to do that. By doing this, we’re going to take better care of our capital investment, and that’s these buildings.”
“I just hate to see layoffs” Mayo said.
“I agree, but I think this is very necessary, and it’s something we have to do,” Hansen said.
The current staff members would be granted interviews at American Janitorial, and one would be relocated to a county position at the Flagler County Executive Airport. Another is retiring. All would be granted at least two months’ severance pay and would remain on the county’s health insurance plan for four months. A county memo pointed out, “On the positive side, any displaced employees will be entering a much stronger job market.”