Commission looks at hiring or contracting cleaning and mowing services

Updated: Feb 3

MOUND CITY – In an effort to take some of the burden off the county's building maintenance department, the Linn County Commission continued discussions on hiring people to perform janitorial and mowing tasks or contracting out those services.

Human Resources Deputy Morgan Northcutt and County Clerk David Lamb talked with the commissioners on Monday, Jan. 24, about the specifics of hiring new people for the cleaning work at the Justice Center, courthouse, health department, district court, and other facilities in Linn County.

Last week, the commission decided that janitorial and mowing should be separate from the maintenance department at the courthouse.

Lamb said there had been ongoing discussion with the district court about replacing their custodian. He said at that at times the courthouse also needed more work than it had received and with the new much larger building that needs to be cleaned and the discussion of hiring a cleaning person for the courthouse and other facilities, he and Northcutt just needed to know what direction the commissioners wanted to go.

Northcutt clarified that the secure areas of the justice center were going to be cleaned by inmates and justice center personnel.

For example, how many people the commission wanted to hire, how they were to be hired, by contract or as full-time or part-time employee.

Commission Chair Jim Johnson said that he would like to see it come out of each department’s budget. Lamb said that it was not a problem to split up where the money came out of and that was another question that they needed answered.

Lamb said there were different ways a person could be hired. If hired contractually, they could be paid through accounts payable, there would be requirements a person would have to meet to be paid that way, or they could be hired as a part-time or full-time employee.

Lamb explained that a person working 20 hours week would be eligible for Kansas Public Employees Retirement Systems (KPERS) and that a person working 30 hours or more would be eligible for the county benefits.

Northcutt said that an employee would be required to follow confidentiality rules and would be able to work during the day. Lamb said that with an employee the county had a lot more control but would pay more.

Johnson suggested that they go ahead and put an ad out for a part-time employee. Northcutt said that it needed to be done now, so that they would have a person when the building was ready.

Public Works Director Shaun West said that how they decided to do this would also impact how they hire a person for mowing. West said if they did not contract mowing, they would have to hire a person to do it.

Commissioner Danny McCullough reiterated what he said last week that he thought they were pushing the limits of the county’s maintenance crew, and that landscaping, janitorial and maintenance should be separate.

Commissioner Rick James asked if it would be better to have up to three part-time employees versus one or two full-time. James said that he knew women that cleaned houses, and maybe they would just like to come in and work one or two days a week for the county.

Johnson said that, with the cleaning being in two different cities, maybe someone at Pleasanton would want to clean the health department.

Northcutt said that she is holding another job fair in March or April

The commissioners decided to think about the hiring of cleaning personnel and mowers until next week. In the meantime, Northcutt would see if she could find a person who could offer advice about the number of hours it would take to clean all of the facilities.

West will come back next week with a list of areas that an employee or contractor would need to mow.

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