The janitorial service company contracted by the city to keep its two largest recreational facilities clean, quit the job less than two months after it was hired, as the previous contractor predicted.
Customized Performance, a San Jose company that was hired to clean the Centennial Recreation Center and the Aquatics Center, gave its 30-day notice to withdraw from the one-year contract Aug. 15, according to Morgan Hill recreation manager Nick Calubaquib.
The company determined it “didn’t make financial sense” to continue the contract, Calubaquib said.
The City Council voted 4-1 to approve the $74,400 contract June 6. That price, submitted by Customized Performance as part of the public bid process, was apparently an underestimate.
The company tried to renegotiate the contract with the city before exercising the contract’s exit clause, but those discussions did not work out in Customized’s favor, according to company spokesman John Krause.
“We underestimated some of the hours it would take to fulfill the contract,” Krause said. “It got down to a financial situation, and both sides wanted to make sure the contract was honored.”
Krause added the company harbors no ill-will toward the city, and supports the city’s efforts to use the public funds appropriately.
The city will now attempt to re-contract the job to the company who received the second-highest “score” based on their proposed price and ability to perform the work in the initial bidding process, if that company is willing to do it, Calubaquib said. If not, the third in line would be approached for the job.
The next two companies in line after Customized proposed cleaning the recreational facilities for $80,340 and $84,013, respectively, according to city staff.
A new contract would require City Council approval at the Sept. 19 council meeting, Calubaquib said.
The City awarded janitorial contracts in two “groups” in June - one for the recreational facilities, and a second one for the Community and Cultural Center and the Friendly Inn. The latter contract was awarded to Pacific Maintenance Company, based in Santa Clara, for $36,500 for one year.
The awarding of the contracts followed a public bid process to which 11 companies replied, but not without some resistance.
Employees of the city’s previous janitorial contractor, Firato Service Company, protested with handmade signs outside City Hall before the June 6 meeting, urging the city to retain the Morgan Hill company and save local jobs.
Nick Firato of Firato Service Company predicted at the June 6 meeting that the lower-priced proposals submitted to the city for janitorial services were unrealistically low, and it would not be possible for the contractors to continue the job at those prices. Furthermore, he criticized the city staff’s scoring system to evaluate the 11 companies that submitted bids, which he labeled “unclear” and lacking in transparency. Firato Service Company, which cleaned the facilities last fiscal year, offered to continue cleaning the recreational buildings in June for about $99,500 a year.
The owner of Firato Service Company said last week the whole cleanup-contract process is “a mess,” and the city will continue to have trouble holding onto its janitorial contractor if they’re seeking the lowest price. Rich Firato says the next-lowest bidder will also back out before the contract is up for the same financial reasons.
“They’re going to say it’s not worth it,” Rich Firato said. “We want the contract at the price we submitted, because in a fair world, that’s a fair price to get all of the tasks done correctly.”