KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced Tuesday that the Knoxville campus will opt out of a proposed contract to outsource facilities management. Davenport said the decision was reached after analysis of proposed savings and an examination of current and future operations.
The faculty senate voted two week ago to oppose outsourcing – the second time they voted against the move. The group questioned how outsourcing contractor Jones Lang LaSalle would accomplish the promised savings. The company released estimates earlier this month that it could save $5 million or more per year, but it was up to each campus to decide whether to use the outsourcing contract.
Members of the University of Tennessee faculty, staff and student body held a demonstration against outsourcing in August. In June, a small group of employees stood in silent protest of the proposal, holding signs reading, “Facilities = Family” and “Vols Source Local.”More online: Read the proposal to outsource
The goal of the proposed plan was to make campus operations more efficient and determine what was in the best interest of our campus.
“I want to thank the numerous people who have spent countless hours evaluating the outsourcing option,” Davenport wrote in a letter. “I have had dozens of meetings, received volumes of mail, and had detailed conversations with a wide range of constituents.”
Davenport says the university ranks amount the lowest in the SEC in administrative and maintenance costs per square foot. The chancellor added that five-year projects indicate an additional $3.3 million in savings.
State Finance Commissioner Larry Martin issued a statement on Davenport’s decision:
“President [Joe] DiPietro has been very open and helpful as we have considered the merits of Facilities Management Outsourcing on the various University of Tennessee campuses. This administration fully believes there are significant cost savings to be gained through our contract with JLL for facilities management, particularly on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus. Nonetheless, and even as obvious as the savings are to us, we respect the independent decision each campus has made or will make in the coming days. It is equally appropriate and right for the administration to review and understand the analyses on which each of the universities respective decisions are being made. Our initial review has raised several questions that we look forward to discussing with the appropriate people.”