JLL now pitching privatization to community college campuses

A year after its massive state contract was finalized, Jones Lang LaSalle is doubling down on efforts to get individual university and college campuses to sign on to outsourcing their custodial, landscaping and maintenance services, reports Nashville Post Politics.

To date, only two schools have signed on to the contract. The five-year contract, which could have been worth up to $1.9 billion, was negotiated in a secret two-year process. Austin Peay State University began using janitorial services last July — which JLL outsources to Birmingham-based Diversified Maintenance — and Cleveland State Community College signed on in February for all of JLL’s services — custodial by Diversified and landscaping by Pennsylvania-based BrightView Landscapes. Five state agencies have also signed on for limited facilities management provided by JLL at a handful of locations across the state.

Last fall, the four schools in the University of Tennessee system all rejected JLL’s services… Now JLL has turned its sights on the other 12 community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, and has renewed a push for outsourcing at Tennessee Technical University that did not move forward late last year.

TBR spokesperson Rick Locker confirmed that JLL is making the rounds at its schools.

“The first time around, JLL did not prepare customized presentations for 13 community colleges,” Locker said. “What they are doing now is presenting customized proposals for each campus. But the chancellor is emphasizing this point — it remains up to each individual campus president to sign on to all of it or part of it or none of it.”

However, employees who thought their outsourcing fears had ended last year are panicking, according to Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), who has been contacted by several constituents.

“As a small business owner myself, I’m all about outsourcing things, like payroll and accounting, and many times it makes sense,” Sparks said. “But there’s point of diminishing returns, and I think we’re there.”

Sparks said he had discussed the outsourcing last year with now-former Motlow State Community College President Tony Kinkel, who told him that he couldn’t see a way for outsourcing to make financial sense. But Motlow State now has a new president, as do Chattanooga State Community College, Nashville State Community College, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology -–  Murfreesboro, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Shelbyville and, soon, Northeast State Community College.

…JLL spokesperson Joe Hall said that the company is not making a renewed push for anything and that the ongoing campus presentations are simply that, ongoing, as was planned by the state from the outset.

…In early May, Haslam told the Knoxville News Sentinel (after UT campuses had rejected contracting with JLL): “Honestly, the truth is we haven’t brought up outsourcing once since that and we won’t ever again. We thought it was a great idea, the schools that wanted to use it could use it, but we made it really clear that they can make the decision not to do it. The other campuses didn’t do it as well at Martin and Chattanooga and Memphis. We get it. And we’ve moved on.”

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