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Michigan's Jackson CC Outsources Campus Security

A small community college in Michigan has decided to outsource much of its campus security and in doing so expects to save about $300,000 in the 2012-2013 budget. Jackson Community College with 9,600 students made the decision after a months-long evaluation of its options.

The "hybrid" plan would keep two employees in the security department to handle day-to-day operations such as issuance of ID badges, doing fingerprinting, managing locksmith services, performing Cleary reporting, and running an internship program for the school's criminal justice students. The change was scheduled to take place beginning on August 1.

The college put together a "privatization committee" that issued a request for proposal to about 20 companies, according to documents included in a board of trustees meeting; half of those responded to the RFP. The committee chose three companies as finalists, all offering hourly rates for armed and unarmed guard service "at a rate much lower than we are paying our employees," a summary stated.

The winner, ArmorKnight Security, estimated that its services would cost about $400,000 for the year compared to the $680,000 budget the in-house department would have, according to local media coverage. The company was already providing security services for one of the college's off-campus locations.

The outsourcing decision eliminated the position of director of security and three regular part-time jobs in the security department. The people in those positions were to be invited to "bump" other part-time staff people employed elsewhere in the college. Several other temporary positions were eliminated as were a couple of unfilled jobs. The security company expected to interview the college's temporary employees for possible hiring.

"In summary, it is our desire to retain as many of the current JCC employees as possible," the committee concluded in its recommendation. "Privatization is never a welcomed alternative within an organization and it is our hope that the Administration agrees with our solution."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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