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City creates new janitor position

Part-time job will serve city buildings

SOLON– Good help can be hard to find.
Sometimes you just have to do it yourself.
After over a year of trying to find a suitable contractor, the City of Solon is creating a new part-time janitorial position to provide services for the city hall, library and fire station.
“This has been a long process,” City Administrator Cami Rasmussen told city council members at a regular meeting Oct. 21.
Rasmussen said it began with a search for someone to clean city hall, but the custodian at the library had quit and it seemed like a good idea to add the fire station, bundling all the work into one contract.
Over the last year-and-a-half, Public Works Director Scott Kleppe has tried to find a local company to provide economical service to the city, but came up empty, Rasmussen said.
The issue was passed on to the city council’s personnel committee– Mark Krall and Mark Prentice– which was asked to consider a part-time position and the associated job description.
“The expense is quite high. This looks at the time to be probably the most affordable solution,” Krall told fellow council members.
“Everything seemed reasonable, and seemed like a good idea,” Prentice added.
The position will be included under the Public Works Department but will also need to take direction from the fire chief and the library director, Rasmussen noted.
According to the job description approved by council members, the position will pay $12 an hour on a part-time, hourly basis and may not exceed 20 hours per week.
Kleppe said 20 hours of work a week would fit into the current budget, noting a schedule would be worked out and evaluated over time.
Council members noted the library as the most-trafficked area of the three.
According to Library Director Kris Brown, the library experiences about 86,000 visitors per year, which breaks down to over 200 visits per day, including special events and meetings.
Brown said the library went through three custodians over a five-year period, with a staff member taking on the responsibility for the last year or so.
“We tried all divvying it up, but now it’s worked better just to have one person who takes on the role of custodian, and she’s added that to her part-time work,” Brown said.
The creation of the position is just the latest in a series of actions the city has taken to save money on general maintenance and bulk purchasing.
“We’re trying to get costs down,” Kleppe said. “Right now it’s just the janitorial building maintenance, supplies and materials (which have been consolidated).”
Needed supplies for City Hall, the library and the fire station are now purchased in bulk by the city.
The public works department has also been trying to do more work in-house, like the interior painting of the library, avoiding the cost of an outside painting service.
“They were looking to have a contractor come in and paint the entire library, (but) public works staff, throughout the winter, got that painted for them,” Kleppe said. “That’s a huge savings to the library.”
The city has developed a schedule for cleaning the facilities, he said, as well as a plan for monthly inspections of the structures and their fixtures.
“We’ve supplied labor, just last week, to paint the exterior doors of the fire station,” Kleppe said. “They haven’t been painted since the building was installed twenty-something years ago.”
Eventually, a Capital Replacement Plan will be created for the facilities to deal with furnaces and other high-dollar items, he said, and the city will try to put money aside to save for those expenses.