DeKalb commissioners want to cut cleaning costs

DeKalb County commissioners are now scrutinizing the money it spends on cleaning after outrage from residents about a $101,000 contract for painting and wallpapering.

Commissioner Jeff Rader said Thursday that he wants to know why inmates from the county jail aren’t cleaning county buildings.

Last year, the county spent $2.6 million on cleaning services, according to David Fisher, the county’s facilities management director. About $1.2 million is allocated for cleaning in the budget for next fiscal year, he told commissioners Thursday.

“We’re considering using community services,” Fisher told commissioners. “We’re looking for ways to cut cleaning.”

Commissioners need to cut more than $50 million from the budget after a drop in revenue.

On Wednesday, the AJC reported that the commission approved a contract for $101,000 for painting and wallpapering. Commissioner Connie Stokes said the money will go to repair flood and rain-damaged walls – and not for redecorating.

Rader said he wanted to know why none of the county’s 8,000 workers are not doing the painting and wallpapering.

“I consider painting a low-skill labor since I can do it,” he said.

Fisher said the county doesn’t have an “in-house painting staff.”

“We had to focus our attention on critical building infrastructure, like electrical and elevators,” he told commissioners. “We have over 250 buildings. We have a lot real estate we need to maintain and operate.”