Lyons: No outsourcing coming to Briggs High School

Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons.

NORWALK, Conn. – A rumor about privatization at Briggs High School is false, Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons said.

This was brought up by Alvin Mosby, who works at Briggs as a custodian, at last week’s Board of Education meeting.

“We work hard. All the kids see us,” Mosby said. “All they are concerned about now with this privatized thing, the rumor’s coming around the whole school now, about this privatizing.”

Lyons said board members did not respond because “The mantra that we aren’t doing anything about Briggs is so self-evidently false.”

“There is no outsourcing coming to Briggs,” he said in an email. “We use an outside contract firm to assist with the revamping of the school, but all school employees remain in place.

“… Now we DO have a clause in the custodians contract that allows use of contractors to do work for us as long as no custodians are laid off, and we’re doing that, but that’s been in the contract for at least 4 years, agreed to in two negotiating cycles by the union.  I think the guy who got up tonight conflated his complaint about Briggs with his complaint about contracting (as if they were connected, which they aren’t).

“The contracting clause protects all current employees. Unlike with the (Maritime) Aquarium, they can’t be laid off and replaced by contractors. Unlike with DPW and the garbage men, they can’t have their pay cut (in fact, they will get contractual raises). But when they quit or retire, we can fill the slots with contract employees, and Dr. (Manny) Rivera will be doing so because of the considerable cost savings available.”


11 responses to “Lyons: No outsourcing coming to Briggs High School”

  1. John Hamlin

    Oh no, don’t privatize — that might mean saving money, and we want to be sure that we pay the highest prices for services and that the impact of our education dollars is diluted as much as possible.

  2. anonymous

    @lyons, how much do the schools pay for custodian service compared to something like the aquarium?

  3. bill


    Why on God’s green earth do any of us need to pay a janitor in the public sector $59,000 A YEAR plus a fat pension? Private sector janitors are making $25,000-30,000 a year and this guy Alvin Mosby gets to make $59,000 a year to do the same job, then he and his father complain about it every chance they get. It’s a truly unfair world we live in.

  4. bill

    @anonymous…next one for you, a whopping $79,500 A YEAR:

    Want to know why we have the most expensive property taxes in the county per capita and some of the worst schools? Because we pay janitors $79,500 a year. The kids get shafted, and these unions make bank.

  5. Those numbers are correct; our average pay for custodians is well over twice the private sector rate. We expect contractor costs to average about $1.41 per square foot of building per year (as paid by the City for its contractor), vs. the $3.56 per square foot paid by the BoE for the same services. This is why we are looking at transitioning to private contractors through attrition, as allowed under the contract with the custodians.

  6. bill

    @Mike Lyons, you are a great man who is truly looking out for the students. I only wish I could say the same for Alvin & John Mosby. It is time to put students first, not bloated union paychecks.

  7. LWitherspoon

    @Mike Lyons
    How much would be saved in the upcoming fiscal year if all custodial services were contracted out immediately?

  8. LWitherspoon, we calculated that we would save about $2 million per year if we contracted with the (unionized) contractor that provides custodial services to the City. As stated, though, its easy to say ‘well, then just contract the whole thing out!’, but with the collective bargaining statutes in this State, that’s just about impossible. Attrition is a slower process, but as time goes forward and we gradually shift over, we will capture more and more of those savings.

  9. bill

    @Mayor Harry Rilling & Gov. Malloy, how many more resources could we give our kids if we were saving $30,000-40,000 per janitor, paying them market rates?

  10. LWitherspoon

    @Mike Lyons
    Thank you. I understand that it’s impossible to save money on cleaning services immediately due to state law.
    My reason for asking the question is that I feel it’s important to express in dollar terms the cost to taxpayers of restrictions placed on us by Hartford. Laws with hidden costs seem to have special appeal to many of our elected officials on both sides of the aisle.
    During the recent controversy over the Maritime Aquarium’s attempt to save money on cleaning services, we learned that the Aquarium pays about $13.50 per hour. With 40 hour weeks and 52 weeks per year, that’s about $28,000 per year. We also learned that the market rate for such services is $8.25 per hour, or $17,000 per year.
    Here is the list of City employee salaries from 2011:
    My very quick count found 70 custodians earning $43,000 or more in salaries and wages in 2011. Of those, 29 earned $55,000 or more, with the highest earning $80,000.
    We also learned during the Maritime Aquarium controversy that most of the Aquarium’s custodians earning $28,000 per year live in Norwalk and, presumably, pay taxes here. This means that we have been raising taxes on private-sector custodians earning $28,000 per year in order to pay the salaries of City custodians earning twice that. And we have no choice in the matter, because our elected officials in Hartford have compelled it. Where’s the fairness in that?

  11. Dawn

    I guess we should consider outselves lucky the Maritime Aquarium got off easy.
    Heaven forbid the politicians head actually read the salary list that was printed here a few weeks ago.
    The aquarium would have had to declare bankruptcy to pay for custodial staff.

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