RCPD Looking At Contract Service

The Riley County Police Department told the Law Board Monday that they were looking into contract service for food service, laundry and commissary.

Here is a memo given to the Board:

As you are aware, we have received several proposals to operate the food service, laundry, and commissary operations in the Riley County jail. This report will include my areas of concern as well as my recommendations.

Food Service:

Currently, the Jail Administrator supervises the food service operation. The department staffs two (2) full-time cooks and one (1) part-time cook, who works on an "as needed" basis. Inmate food and care items are a budgeted line item for the LEC and in the fiscal year 2001, $118,000.00 was budgeted. However, it should be noted that this amount does not cover the salaries for the kitchen staff positions.

The kitchen prepares approximately 4,000 meals per month at an estimated cost of $1.86 per meal. This cost includes the food items, cleaning supplies, and the salaries of the two (2) full-time kitchen staff positions. It should be noted that on occasion correction officers have had to work in the kitchen due to kitchen staff shortages. This not only costs the department to pay out a hire rate for meal preparation for the inmates but usually constitutes overtime pay as well, adequate staffing becomes an issue, and burnout among the correctional staff working the additional hours is also a problem.

Laundry:

The shift supervisor working 4:00 p.m. - midnight currently supervises the laundry facility. The laundry is operated by inmate workers and supervised by the correction officers. Currently, we are spending about $0.02 per pound to operate the facility laundry, which includes only costs for the chemicals used to wash the laundry.

Commissary:

The shift supervisor working 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. currently handles the day-to-day operations of the commissary. Of the three (3) areas the commissary is the most labor intensive. It takes approximately ten (10) hours per week for the correction staff to take inmate orders, verify that the inmates have the funds available in their accounts to pay for all the items ordered, place inmate orders, and delivered items ordered to the inmates. The amount of time required fluctuations by the number of inmates being housed. It is felt that at some point in the future it could conceivable become a full-time job.

Recap of Areas of Concern:

* Difficulties hiring and retaining qualified kitchen staff.

* Hire salaries paid when correction officers are performing kitchen-staff duties.

* Overtime rates being paid due to staffing shortages.

* Burnout within our correctional staff due to working overtime in the kitchen.

* Not properly using staff in areas of appropriate training.

* Probability that in the future that our inmate population will increase.

Proposals:

Research was previously done looking into the possibility of contracting with an outside company to takeover the kitchen, laundry, and commissary operations. In 2000, when this research was done a proposal was received from AraMark in which they would operate all three above-mentioned areas. AraMark proposed to operate the kitchen, laundry, and commissary on a sliding scale per inmate. Based on the sliding scale, of one hundred (100) inmates the cost would be approximately $145,000.00 annually.

In August of 2001 a second proposal was received from Consolidated Correctional Foodservice. They also submitted a proposal to operate the kitchen, laundry, and commissary. However, they did not address any areas except the kitchen in their proposal and their quoted price reflects only their cost for operating the kitchen. They too based their bid on one hundred (100) inmates at an annual cost of $213,000.00. The company was contacted and admitted that it was an oversight on their part and they would re-work their proposal and resubmit an updated bid. Their bid would certainly increase with the addition of the laundry and commissary operation. However, to-date no updated information has been received from Consolidated Correctional Foodservice company.

The third and final proposal was received from the Keefe Commissary Network in August 2001. Keefe’s proposal included taking over the commissary operation only and would take much of the work we do now in regards to the commissary off the hands of our correctional staff. There would be no cost billed to the LEC as Keefe makes their profit on the items sold. Additionally, we would receive 15% percent back from their net profit.

These proposals were not actively pursued previously as we were unsure what our operating costs would be in the LEC facility at the time they were received. Also with the addition of correctional staff hired to adequately staff the new LEC, we were also somewhat unsure what our needs would be in the aforementioned areas.

Recommendation:

It would certainly be my recommendation that the kitchen, laundry, and commissary operations be turned over to an outside company. As inmate population increases it is hopeful that the meals might be provided at a more competitive rate. This also would allow correctional staff to focus on their jobs and work in areas for which they are appropriately trained. Money would be saved by the LEC in not having to pay correctional staff overtime while covering during the shortages of kitchen staff personnel.

Allan Collins

Captain

Jail Administrator