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Staff photo by Monique Brand / Board member Marco Perez (far left corner) expressed concerns with ABM representative Trey Brock.

A custodial company hired to clean Hamilton County Schools addressed the next steps after more than 200 complaints that its employees are not doing their jobs.

Representatives of ABM Facilities met with school board members Thursday regarding an 8-page action plan highlighting how the company can improve on its performance.

According to board member Tucker McClendon the district set up its own "reporting system" on the company's performance totaling hundreds of complaints from late August to early September. The tactic stemmed from conversations in February between Superintendent Bryan Johnson, McClendon and ABM reps "about some of the services that we are seeing in our schools and they're are not meeting expectations."

"That kinda got us to a tipping point as a district, and we have had some conversations in the last two weeks with ABM and one of our things with them was to get the board a plan of action to correct some of those deficiencies in their service," McClendon said.

Trey Brock, senior vice president of operations ABM, said the major issues behind the complaints were staffing and lacking the correct materials to do the job.

"This account certainly holds a close place to our hearts. Despite our recent deficiencies we've had a lot of ups and downs and been through a lot with Hamilton County over the years," Brock said.

Brock also said that six to 12 complaints are "trickling" in per day, some duplicate concerns.

Takeaways from the 100-plus year company's action plan include a wage increase to $13 an hour, sign-on bonuses, a new quality control inspector and more on-site operation managers. The company also announced it will have a partnership with JLM Cleaning Services, which will provide additional staff at four campuses for late afternoon/early evening cleaning: Ooltewah High School, Ooltewah Elementary, Wolftever Elementary and Wallace A Smith Elementary.

Also included in the action plan is a weeklong deep cleaning that includes electrostatic misting during the district's fall break.

Contact Monique Brand at mbrand@timesfreepress.com.

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