Scott AFB airmen to mop, vacuum own buildings to cut costs
By MIKE FITZGERALD | Belleville News-Democrat | Published: March 29, 2014
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Scott Air Force Base airmen on April 1 will assume more responsibility for most mopping, vacuuming and grass-cutting at dorms and office buildings that do not fall under the "prestige" category.
The new program is the result of Air Force-wide cost-cutting efforts. Scott will save about $1 million from custodial and groundskeeping contracts in the first year of the austerity program, according to Maj. Michelle Sterling, operations flight commander for the 375th Operations Squadron.
"If there is a need for vacuuming that'll be the responsibility of the folks who live in the facility," Sterling said.
Challenge Unlimited, the not-for-profit Alton group that provides jobs to disabled adults, holds the groundskeeping and custodial contracts.
The cost reductions are forcing Challenge Unlimited to reduce 15 positions, according to a statement the group released Friday.
"Workforce reductions are never easy; especially since Challenge Unlimited Inc.'s mission is to provide job opportunities for the disabled workforce," according to the statement.
Challenge Unlimited will continue to provide custodial services at some venues, such as childcare facilities, Sterling said.
The shifting of more custodial and groundskeeping duties to airmen is the result of Air Force-mandated dollar reductions in custodial contracts, Sterling said.
This is the Air Mobility Command's and Scott Air Force Base's "way of meeting those dollar cut reductions," she said.
The new AMC contract will end sweeping, mopping and vacuuming for all base buildings that do not fall under the "prestige," or Level 1, category. The majority of the buildings on base will be under "basic," or Level 2, category, according to a statement issued by the base public affairs office.
Restrooms will be cleaned twice a week for airmen living in or working in Level 2 buildings. Trash collection will become a centralized process that will be picked up twice a week, instead of the desk-side service now taking place.
Meanwhile, the small recycling bins scattered across the base will be removed, with the option remaining to take recyclable items to the base's main recycling center.