Some may well be losing their jobs because of the fact that we will be privatizing that work," says Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper. Dr. Cooper wants to offer the HVAC maintenance contract to Lafayette based Bernhard Mechanical.
The announcement was made at Wednesday's school board meeting. Facilities and Planning Director Kyle Bordelon says Bernhard has agreed to try to help find work for those losing their job. "Has offered that any of these persons who are qualified are more than welcomed to apply with this company and we will give them full consideration ."
Dr. Cooper says another option is to place some employees into vacant school system positions. The proposed contract is $2 million per year - for five years. Rebecca Bernhard of Bernhard Mechanical confirms the details. "It does include all equipment replacement and repairs."
The school system's chief financial officer says the cost is about $533,000 over the norm; but not having to pay for equipment will even out the cost. In fact, a $16,000 savings could be realized. "As a business it seems to be a very wise way to look at taking care of those millions and millions of dollars of equipment," adds Dr. Cooper. Prior to voting the board requested to see the proposed contract before and after its signed
Dr. Cooper on New School Maintenance Contract
Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper says three companies have responded to the districts RFP (Response For Proposal). Cooper is searching for a company to do preventive maintenance and maintain the districts air conditioning and heating equipment. Currently, the school system's HVAC Department handles that "It's gotten to be a huge cost to the district. We don't have the staff. There may be a better way to handle this," says Cooper.
KLFY Eyewitness News has learned that there are 6 employees and two vacancies in HVAC. Cooper says seven of those seven positions could be affected. "The negotiations include finding these people work. The company that gets this contract; we would want them to interview these people and try to get these folks involved in their company. They would just transfer over from one job to the next."
The contract is $2 million. Cooper admits that it's more than what's currently being spent. He says the extra money leaves room to improve equipment in need of attention.
One of the companies is Bernhard Mechanics located in Lafayette. Bernhard is known for handling big contracts like Lafayette General Medical and The Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge.
"It's not just about the who has the lowest price, but who is able to service big contracts like this." Cooper says a company hasn't been confirmed - especially without the board's approval.
Coopers says the two other proposals are from Star Mechanics and Excel Mechanics.