Planners at Erie County Care Facility hope a decision to outsource food, janitorial and laundry operations will trim about $200,000 a year from the facility's $7.3 million budget.
At the behest of the nursing facility's administrators, county commissioners on Thursday awarded a one-year contract for housekeeping, laundry and dietary-services to Aramark Correctional Services of Illinois, which stands to make anywhere from $909,000 to about $1.1 million on the deal.
Like most agencies and departments under Erie County's umbrella, the Care Facility hasspent the year trying to trim and balance its budget. Months ago the facility laid off 11 part-time workers and five full-time workers, cutting about $400,000 from its yearly expenses.
Brad Storer, the care facility's administrator, began exploring the possibility of outsourcing certain operations at the facility in hopes of saving a few hundred-thousand dollars each year.
While the decision to let Aramark handle dietary, janitorial and laundry duties at the facility comes with a sizable savings, it also comes with added costs in terms of staffing.
As part of the agreement, the care facility is laying off 20 county employees, all of whom have to reapply with Aramark and be rehired by the private contractor, said Erie County human resources director Margaret Rudolph.
The employees include four in laundry, four in housekeeping and 10 in dietary services, as well as a supervisor for dietary operations.
Rudolph said all the employees will be given the opportunity to "meet and interview with the representatives of Aramark," but added, "Aramark's hiring decisions are solely at their discretion."
"It's more of a succession type of thing," county administrator Mike Bixler said at Thursday's commission meeting. "Aramark actually interviews people for these jobs, (but) there's no guarantee they'll be rehired."
County officials said it's likely the workers stand a good chance at being rehired, however, because they already have experience and familiarity with the facility.
Under the contract Aramark agreed to provide the services to 100-120 residents at the facility year round. The fluctuating population at the facility means the company will earn anywhere from $909,000 to $1.1 million on janitorial, dietary and laundry services combined.
On the high end of that figure, dietary accounts for $650,500 per year, while janitorial accounts for $230,000 and laundry is $210,250.