Board seeks alternatives to food service worker layoffs

Published on November 08, 2016

The Placer County Board of Supervisors Nov. 8 considered a proposal that would transition the county’s correctional food service to an outside vendor. The board considered various ramifications of the proposal including the potential layoff of a dozen county food service workers. The supervisors directed staff to explore various alternative and return at a later date and present their findings.

By outsourcing the correctional food service, the county would stand to save about $600,000 a year, mostly in employee costs. However, after listening to comments from some of the employees who would potentially be laid off, the board delayed any decision until it had additional information.

This is a tough one,” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “There’s a moral piece to this and there’s also a financial piece. That’s really the difficult part for me.

The $13 million, five-year contract considered today was with Aramark Correctional Services. As part of the proposal, Aramark confirmed its intent to interview all interested county food services employees for potential employment. But staff also reported that an entry-level position with Aramark paid about 27 percent less than a similar position with the county. Part of the board’s direction was for staff to investigate some sort of short-term options to ease the transition for employees.

“We need to take time to look at this, because it’s my belief that there are other alternatives we can identify that will do a better job of protecting our employees’ economic health,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery.

Since 1985, the Placer County Probation Department has managed the food service program. The program provides three meals a day to about 750 adult inmates in three detention facilities, and about 20 juveniles in the county’s juvenile detention facility. Additionally, through a contract with Senior’s First, the food service program provides meals for delivery to homebound seniors.