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Next Step in State’s Facilities Management Initiative

Office of President Joe DiPietro

The State of Tennessee’s Office of Customer-Focused Government is announcing today the next step on a long-publicized timeline for its initiative to explore prospective cost savings in facilities management.

I know we all share a great interest in this process and the potential impact of its outcomes.

I want to emphasize again: Each campus will retain the option to opt out even after all state costs are validated, all proposals received, and the final comparison of validated state costs compared to proposed service provider costs is complete.

Today’s press release from the Office of Customer-Focused Government notes the potential for $35 million in cost savings – at all state-owned facilities, combined – to operate state buildings through the use of outsourcing facilities management. A similar estimate was first announced during a spring 2016 meeting of the legislature’s Senate State and Local Government Committee.

The state plans to issue a request for proposals from prospective contractors for facilities management in December.

I want to reiterate once more that the final decision on whether the University will opt in or out of providing contract-based facilities management services belongs to the campuses, with leadership of those campuses being responsible for justifying their decisions to UT System administration and the Board of Trustees.

Further, our campuses do not have to make any final decisions until after our internal costs have been verified by a third-party auditor and all estimates received through the RFP process from selected qualified vendors have been analyzed.

This is also noted in the Office of Customer-Focused Government’s press release issued today, that you can read here. You also can review the state’s timeline here.

The University has been engaged throughout the duration of this process, and we will continue to be.

I maintain my support of our facilities services employees and the fine job they do. In the press release referenced above, please note it states that any contract with a service provider will include language prohibiting any reduction in force at any time during the contract period and that no current, productive employee will lose his or her job just because of a contract.

Also, no one will be forced to implement a plan that is not in the overall best interests of our University, its personnel or its students.

The University will maintain its good faith commitment to a thorough review of the involved information and to our engagement in this initiative until we have been presented the necessary, valid information for making an informed decision whether to opt in or out.

I appreciate all that you—our faculty and staff who serve this University day in and day out—do to contribute to fulfilling our important mission.

All the best,

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