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University News

Custodial Ranks Are Hit Hard by Budget Cuts


From Dateline (October 23, 2003)

Campus members can look no further than their office waste bins to understand how the state budget cuts are affecting Cal State Fullerton.

The custodial ranks are down by 23 positions, and to meet the needs of the university, faculty and staff members are being asked to pitch in and empty their individual trash cans into large, centrally located trash bins that will be emptied daily.

“Our department is doing the best that we can in light of the budget reductions and we continue to make strides whenever possible,” said Willem van der Pol, director of physical plant. “Unfortunately, right now the reality is certain tasks that used to be carried out on a regular or daily basis will now be done less often.”

“Facilities Management has developed a new set of priorities to ensure certain areas receive the attention necessary to support our academic mission,” said Willie J. Hagan, vice president for administration, in a universitywide memo released this week.

Cleaning and trash collection will continue on a daily basis in classrooms, restrooms, building corridors, entrances and exits, elevator floors and performance theaters. Trash collection also will occur daily in non-teaching labs, practice rooms, balconies and patios.

Non-teaching labs and practice rooms, balconies and patios will be cleaned once a week, as will replacement of light bulbs and the cleaning of floors and elevator interiors. Office cleaning, such as dusting, vacuuming and spot-cleaning carpets, will be provided every two weeks, and other cleaning efforts – stairwells, conference and multipurpose rooms, library stacks and windows – will be conducted as needed.

Custodians worked with management beginning last spring to deal with the shortage in manpower. The goal, said lead custodian Sandra Malone, was to “find a way to do our jobs with the number of employees we have.”

Custodians are now working in zone or team cleaning, where each team member performs a specific task such as vacuuming or emptying trash, explained Malone. “Previously, one person was responsible for doing all the tasks for a floor or specific area,” she noted. Now a team handles several floors or an entire building. “It works. We can provide a good level of service despite not having the number of people we would have had if vacancies were filled.”

Malone leads a team that works in the Education Classroom, Com-puter Science, Engineering and Ruby Gerontology buildings, as well as Titan House. “We have a sense of togetherness....When we finish a building, we can look back and feel confident that we did our job.”

“Without those 23 custodians, we had to made some tough decisions about just what our current level of staffing could achieve,” said van der Pol, who noted that in a better budget climate vacant positions would be filled and additional custodians would be hired to meet the needs of existing and new buildings as they come into use, such as the expanded Kinesiology and Health Science Building.

“We, like the rest of the campus, take pride in how well the campus looks. We understand the importance of the campus grounds looking clean and neat, the facilities clean and in good condition. Our main focus right now is to provide the best service we can while dealing with the challenges that we face.”

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