Aramark's Arturo Rivera presents to the New Rochelle School Board in 2014

FIRE ARAMARK: What Happened to Cost-Saving Systems Promised in 2014?

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — On November 5, 2014, Arturo Rivera, a consultant working for Aramark Management Services, made a presentation to the New Rochelle Board of Education to report on the implementation of cost-saving technologies which had been recommended and purchased under the direction of past-Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff. These systems include: (1) Timepiece System to track work employee work hours and overtime using biometric identification; (2)  SchoolDude Work Order System to track work assignments during a work day; and (3) SchoolDude Inventory Control System to track supplies and equipment.

During the presentation, Rivera stated that the Timepiece System would be implemented within 60 to 90 days (January 4, 2015 to February 3, 2015), the SchoolDude Work Order System would be implemented within 40 days (December 15, 2014) and SchoolDude Inventory Control System would be implemented within 80 days (January 24, 2015).

More than a year after making these promises, Rivera has delivered precisely none of them. The District continues to use a largely paper-based work order management system with clipboards and pencils. There is no inventory management system at all.

In an internal memo dated January 15, 2015 and addressed to Buildings & Grounds and Security staff, the District notified these employees that effective January 29, 2016, they would no longer use paper timesheets, that payroll would be generated solely from Timepiece entries.

In other words, the Timepiece System has not been implemented either and at the end of this month only two departments will be using the system (less than 10% of the workforce).

Rivera has never once come back to the school board to explain the missed deadlines or what he intends to do about them. The inventory management system is specifically required under the terms of the Aramark contract.

The time has come to not just replace Aramark consultants but to terminate the Aramark contract once and for all.

The current contract between the City School District of New Rochelle and Aramark Management Services was signed on January 9, 2015 but began effective July 1, 2013. For those unfamiliar the full scope of the Aramark contract fiasco, one of several long-running comedy of errors in the New Rochelle school system, the problems were largely the result of various machinations by Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration John Quinn along with Jeffrey Kehl, the outside legal counsel of the District.

In 2012, a majority of school board members came to support getting rid of Aramark. As a starting point, the board expressed a desire to put the District’s facilities management contract out for bid. According to Quinn, the contract had not been rebid since it was first awarded in 1987, more than 25 years earlier. Quinn and Kehl convinced the board to extend the Aramark contract another year, ostensibly to prepare a Request for Proposal document.

The result was an RFP designed, in the opinion of many, to make sure only Aramark could win the bid. In the end only one company bid and so on March 2013, that one bid, from Aramark, was awarded without competition.

On June 25, 2013, Mr. Quinn appeared before the Board of Education to answer questions about the Board resolution to formally approve awarding the Facilities Management contract to Aramark in which he repeatedly lied in what can only be seen as a deliberate effort to deceive the school board.

In April 2014, Talk of the Sound first reported that despite Quinn’s pretenses to the board, there was no Aramark contract

At the recommendation of then-Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff, the entire management team from Aramark Management Services, led by John Gallagher, was fired. Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration John Quinn was also fired that summer.

Incredibly, despite extensive reporting by Talk of the Sound on waste, fraud and abuse by and under Aramark’s watch and district investigations confirming those reports, the Aramark contract was not terminated. Instead, Gallagher was replaced by Arturo Rivera. 

It was in this context, that Rivera stood before the board and told the board what they wanted to hear. The board has never followed up and the failure to implement TimePiece, SchoolDude Work Order System and SchoolDude Work Inventory System continues, unremarked upon.

The savings available from the implementation of this technology is projected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in direct cost and likely millions in indirect costs by reducing time-theft and “spillage”. That potential savings continues to be lost due to the failure of Rivera to deliver on his promises.

VIDEO: Facilities Management Presentation to New Rochelle Board of Education by Arturo Rivera on Nov 5, 2014

RIVERA PRESENTATION: Time Piece & School Dude Presentation (11/5/14)