BSWs receive new responsibilities amid lacking state budget

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

Staff members have had to take on more work this semester as a result of cuts in Civil Service areas.

Shawn Peoples, the associate director of student standards, brought up some of the concerns Staff Senate had about the layoffs at the last Board of Trustees meeting.

“One of the main things that was discussed was the loss of manpower,” Peoples said. “There’s a lot of construction projects in place, but with the less manpower they are not able to get everything done.”

Peoples said some things concerning Building Service Workers were the six cuts they had in their area, which is equal to a total of 225 hours a week.

“In addition to the six that were cut, there has been one retired, one quit and one moved, so now they’re down nine individuals since April,” Peoples said.

Peoples said the BSWs have concerns about their ability to be able to keep the buildings up to par.

“It’s the same thing with our electricians; they’re behind on the work orders.” Peoples said.

Peoples said she understands individuals had to be moved around as cuts took place, but some areas had 20 percent of the staff in new areas, which also makes it take longer to get things done.

Some of the staff members have had to do more in their various areas because of the layoffs and other cuts.

“Some staff have had to pick up additional responsibilities that may have been covered by a position that has been eliminated,” Peoples said. “Someone may find themselves doing the work of three people.”

Peoples said with fewer staff members in certain areas, some have said that it takes longer to get projects done.

“There may be a lot of projects in place, and with less manpower they are unable to get everything done,” Peoples said.

Peoples said the overall university community may be affected because the staff may not be able to respond as quickly to requests.

“A reduction in one area may affect the work that needs to be done in another area if your process is contingent upon the assistance of another department,” Peoples said. “With a reduction in the number of BSWs that cover the non-residential buildings on campus, they are not be able to spend as much time cleaning an area as they would if they did not have a reduction in staff.”

Travis Magee, a custodial supervisor, said a lot of special projects have been put on hold, though things are still getting done.

“We’re still cleaning restrooms, bathrooms and public spaces daily,” Magee said.

Other areas, such as offices do not get as much attention as they used to.

Magee said all of the BSWs have been doing a lot with what they had.

“They’ve been working hard, getting through it,” Magee said. “Campus-wide, everyone’s been doing more with less.”

Some of the BSW workloads have gotten bigger, and some have been getting more buildings to clean.

Jon Bell, a BSW, now has both McAfee Gym and the third floor of the science building to clean.

“It’s a lot easier than other jobs,” Bell said. “We’re all making do.”

Bell said he was surprised at how many BSWs were able to step up, including in cases where BSWs will take on different areas if someone calls in sick.

“Everyone understands the budget cuts,” Bell said. “I don’t hear anyone complaining.”

Bell is not complaining either, as he said he inherited a good area to take care of.

“My job is still a good job to have,” Bell said.

Until a state budget is passed, no new people will be hired.

“It doesn’t make any sense to hire people if there is the possibility of laying them off,” Magee said.

Magee said these changes could be stressful, as many of the people he works with take pride in their work and want to clean everything on a daily basis even though that is not always possible.

“Some are perfectionists,” Magee said. “They need to transition to the fact that they are not cleaning offices every day.”

Peoples said the morale of some of the staff has been affected because of what has been happening, and the Staff Senate wants to do whatever they can to be a support for the staff and convey any issues that may arise.

“The staff senate implemented a Shout Out page about two years ago as a means to have staff recognized for their efforts,” Peoples said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]