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MU looking over several bids from private custodial and landscaping services


The University of Missouri is now reviewing bids from private companies to take over its in-house custodial and landscaping services amid a dire budget crisis.

ABC17 News previously reported that the university sent out a call for bids from private companies to explore cost-saving options after budget withholds from the state and other financial shortfalls.

The University received eight bids to take over landscaping services and 10 bids for custodial services. Three companies placed bids for both services.

Below is a list of the companies who submitted a for landscaping service:

  • Brightview Landscapes LLC
  • Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, Inc.       
  • ABM Industry Groups LLC        
  • SSC        
  • Sodexo        
  • Columbia Landcare LLC        
  • Embassy Landscape Group        
  • Atkins Investments 

Below is a list of the companies who submitted a bid for custodial services.

  • HHS
  • Sodexo
  • SSC
  • Arment Enterprises
  • Atkins
  • ABBCO Service Corporation
  • ABM
  • LGC
  • HHM Facility Management
  • SBM Corporation 

Spokesman for the University Christian Basi said a committee is now reviewing the bids. The university has not made a decision on whether or not they will accept a bid. It is also unclear if significant cuts will be made to existing services if the university decides to keep its current employees.

"There is not a place at the university that has not been touched by these budget times," Basi said. "We are certainly experiencing a budget situation that is unprecedented in the history of the university."

He said they will only accept a bid if there are significant cost savings and the level of service will be able to be maintained. Basi expressed the university is trying to balance $27.1 million withheld from the state as well as more than $10 million dollars worth of refunds to students for room and board.

The university employs about 250 custodians and 31 landscaping staff. For custodial services, the university budgeted about $9.5 million, which includes both educational and general buildings as well as revenue-generating buildings and services such as Residential Life and the bookstore.

The university budgeted about $2.6 million for landscaping.

One of those employees is Randy Wallace. He is represented by the union, Laborers Local 955, which has been planning rallies and trying to save the jobs of its members that could be lost.

Wallace said he has worked full time for the university for nine years. He and his coworkers received a notice that their jobs could be on the line.

"You're getting rid of a group to get another group," Wallace said. "Speechless... I'm still speechless."

He said he was planning on retiring from the university soon, but said he would likely have to look for a new job if he loses those benefits.

"How could you get rid of people that have been that for 30 or 40 years and just get rid of them for, I guess money, that's the only thing i could think it would be," Wallace said.

The union is planning to hold another rally Thursday at noon at Jesse Hall asking President Mun Choi to not go with a private company for those services.

"I'm hoping that somebody would be there with some kind of compassion and say, 'hey we are really giving them a raw deal here, is there something else we can do to save their jobs,'" Wallace said.

In response to the rallies and demands from the union, Basi said hard decisions, including large amounts of lay-offs and furloughs, have had to happen and will continue to happen across the university during the fallout from COVID-19.

"We are making decisions we would never want to have to make. and so this is something we have to explore," Basi said. "To be able to maintain our missions education and research and service to the state we have to look at absolutely every possible option."

The university hopes to make a decision around the end of June or early July. If they decide to go with a private company for either of the services, the university hopes the company would start at the beginning of August.

Watch ABC17 News at 9 and 10 for a full report.

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Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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