For the first time in more than a decade, Brookfield will outsource janitorial services at village hall, with trustees voting 5-0 on Nov. 23 to award Mount Prospect-based Crystal Maintenance Plus Corp. a one-year contract for $19,860, with two one-year extensions likely.

The company will clean the village’s administrative offices, the police department and the parks and recreation area in the village hall’s lower level. In addition, the company will also maintain the gym at S.E. Gross Middle School on days when the Brookfield Department of Parks and Recreation uses that facility.

Outsourcing the maintenance work will allow the one full-time union public works employee who spends 40 hours a week performing those services to be reassigned to the streets division, said Public Works Director Carl Muell.

Having a full-time public works employee perform the work costs the village $94,249 annually. Those dollars can now be directed towards core public works duties, like alley grading and pothole filling. 

Hiring a third-party vendor will also allow the village to have the cleaning work done at night, when the public and staff, except for the police department, are not in the building. Public works staff will still do room setups for board meetings and other functions inside the building.

“To me it was just not practical to have the cleaning done during the day when people were working,” Muell said. “I thought it was a little crazy.”

According to Muell, the cleaning service will begin working in January at the start of the new fiscal year.

Brookfield has never seriously tried outsourcing village hall janitorial services, though there appears to have been a brief period of time where it was given a trial run.

Back in 2005, then-Village Manager Dave Owen pitched outsourcing village hall janitorial work at a time when the administration was shedding jobs due to cost-cutting measures proposed for the 2005-06 budget. At the time, the village’s fiscal year ran from May to April. The village went to a January-December fiscal year in 2007.

Muell said he asked a senior public works employee if the plan ever went into action, and apparently it did, briefly.

“In 2006, they contracted it out three days a week for about three months,” Muell said, though memories of the arrangement were sketchy. Riccardo Ginex, who was hired as village manager in late summer 2006, said public works staff handled village hall maintenance by the time he arrived.