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Simon says more help needed

The Harrison County Council heard a request of $40,000 from David Simon, the county’s maintenance supervisor, for additional part-time help to clean the three new county government buildings on the old hospital campus.
Simon said two custodians are unable to thoroughly clean the three buildings, which total about 87,000 square feet.
‘We’re not getting the thorough clean we need; they can’t do it by themselves … ‘ he said. ‘I like this building. It’s a beautiful building, and I’d like to keep it that way.’
Simon said the national ‘norm’ is 20,000 square feet per custodian.
Most of the request ‘ $30,000 ‘ is for two part-time employees, while the other $10,000 is to replenish his part-time line because it was used significantly during the move to the new facilities. The employees will make $10 per hour.
Simon said dust and dirt are a ‘killer’ for computers, equipment and other machinery.
The facilities maintenance department has five full-time custodians: two at the government center complex, two at the Justice Center and one for the courthouse and archives building in downtown Corydon.
At least two of the seven council members, chairman Gary Davis and vice chair Phil Smith, said they wanted Simon to get quotes from private cleaning companies to compare the cost of hiring two new part-time employees.
Simon spoke adamantly against the idea because he wants to be able to have control of what the employees clean. He said the needs of the position change constantly, and a contracted employee may not be required to do certain jobs. He also said he’s had bad experiences with contracted cleaners in the past.
The cost of contracted cleaners could be anywhere between 6 cents and 9 cents per square foot, Simon said, for a total cost of $60,000 to $90,000, depending on the level of service requested.
Simon reiterated that he did not want to lose control with his employees, and that contracting the cleaning would limit him and ‘tie his hands behind his back.’
Davis said Simon won’t lose control over the two custodians he already has if the board decides to contract out the rest of the cleaning.
‘Whatever they’ve been doing, they can continue to do … ‘ Davis said. ‘If you’re not going to look at contracting, then I guess it’s a stand-off.’
Simon said he’ll get figures for the council’s next meeting, which is when the seven-member board will vote on the additional.
Simon also had requests of $10,000 and $5,000 for parts and heat pump replacement, respectively.
In other business, the commissioners’ request of $90,000 for a ‘rake’ sewer filtration system for the Justice Center failed with a 3-3 vote (four ‘yes’ votes are needed to approve). Davis, Smith and Councilman Ralph Sherman were against (Councilman Jim Heitkemper was absent due to illness).
The commissioners requested the funding for the system to ensure the lines would not be clogged and disrupt the town of Corydon’s operations. The system backs up when inmates flush various items down the toilet. This ‘rake’ contraption would pull any such item out of the system before it clogs the lines.
Commissioner James Goldman said the lines were clogged just last week. ‘It’s simple, and it works real well,’ he said of the system.
Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said it’s to the benefit of the users of the system to make sure that it doesn’t back up.
The council unanimously approved a $13,000 additional for a nurse for the sheriff’s department and approved $35,000 for right-of-way appraisal work for the Corydon-Ramsey Road enhancement project between state roads 62 and 337 with a vote of 5-1 (Smith was against).
Smith said he thought the funding should come from Mathes’ contractual service line.
At the council’s next meeting, Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center, it will vote on a $200,000 additional for fuel for the highway department and $27,000 additional for a new vehicle for the assessor’s office, among other requests.