Meeting Minutes: August 1st, 2017

NYC School Support Services

Board Meeting

August 1, 2017

8:30am, Spruce Street School, 12 Spruce St, New York, NY


Meeting Minutes

The August meeting of the NYC School Support Services, Inc. Board was conducted as a site visit to The Spruce Street School, located at 12 Spruce Street in Manhattan.  The meeting was called to order at 8:40 am by Chairperson Elizabeth, who noted that a quorum was present to conduct business. 

The following Board members attended:


Elizabeth Rose, NYC SSS Chairperson

Natalie Green Giles, NYC SSS Secretary

David Kramer, NYC SS Board Member

Jose Davila, NYC SSS Board Member


Also in attendance were:


Nicolas Storellicastro, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Stephen Brennan, NYC SSS Executive Director

John Shea, CEO of the Division of School Facilities

Erin Lester, Special Assistant to Deputy Chancellor Rose

Brooke Lewis, NYC SSS CFO

Arthur Holly, NYC SSS Director of HR

Greg Bracco, NYC SSS Director of Operations

Mark David, Division of School Facilities

Phil Napolitano, Division of School Facilities

Ms. Rose reviewed the agenda for the meeting, which included a tour of The Spruce Street School led by the custodial staff, a presentation of the annual report for the corporation, the approval of meeting minutes from May 10, 2017, and the consideration of any new business.

Ms. Rose noted for the record the retirement of NYC SSS Board member and OMB representative Larian Angelo, citing her gratitude for Ms. Angelo’s service as a founding Board member and her instrumental role in setting up NYC SSS. In addition, Ms. Rose introduced Brooke Lewis, the new CFO for the corporation as of May 22, 2017.

Tour of The Spruce Street School

NYC SSS Board members and guests were taken on a tour of the school facility by the custodial staff, including the school’s Custodial Engineer and custodial staff.  Board members had the opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of both the typical custodial tasks that are conducted during the school year and in the summer months, as well as how the transition to the NYCSSS centralized model has impacted the staff.


Approval of Meeting Minutes from May 10, 2017

Ms. Rose made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from the May 10, 2017 meeting, and the motion was seconded.  Review of the minutes yielded no modifications.  Ms. Giles asked about the request in May for a more detailed scope of work and expenses for the proposed contract with Ferrilli Associates (to purchase network integration system advisory services in the amount of $45,000) prior to approval of the contract.  Mr. Brennan indicated that Ferrilli had not yet provided a satisfactory level of detail in response to the request, and consequently the contract was still in draft form.  There being no further questions, Ms. Rose put forth a motion to approve the minutes and the Board unanimously voted in favor of approval.


Annual Report

Mr. Brennan prepared and presented the first Annual Report to the Board, nothing that August 12, 2017 is the one-year anniversary of the effective date of the Corporation’s contract with the DOE.  Ms. Lewis, CFO, presented the unaudited financial components of the annual report.  The Board received hard copies of the report.  Board members had specific questions and/or requested clarification on the following areas/metrics:

  • The number of grievance hearings (averaging 35 per week) and the comparative figures to pre-NYC SSS operations, as well as the drivers of those hearings, as the average of 35 per week seemed high.
  • With call volumes to the help desk reported as a weekly average of 2,980 calls, the Board would like to see a greater breakdown on the nature of those calls as well as turnaround times for resolution. Brennan indicated that the goal now is to turn around calls within 24 hours.  There is also an email capability available for questions and issues, however a majority of custodial workers do not have access to a computer during the workday.
  • More information on the number of payroll errors in a bi-weekly period was requested. Lewis indicated a recent tally of 380 payroll problems per pay period.  The source of the errors needs to be identified as systemic vs. one-off (i.e., pay rate errors, duplicate deduction of dues) and the vendor (ADP) needs to be held accountable.  Ms. Rose suggested a zero tolerance for errors made in the rate of pay or in the address to which an employee’s check is sent.
  • Board members questioned the discrepancy between the budgeted payroll plus fringe benefits for the approximately 6,800 custodial employees vs. actual of roughly $56 million ($595 million budgeted vs. $539 million actual). It was explained that the full staff did not get paid through NYCSSS until February/March, with DOE budgets and outside vendors still covering certain costs until that time.  The projected budget is expected to start leveling out in the new fiscal year.  Similarly, the administrative staff costs for NYCSSS were under budget due to timing of staff hires.  Office expenses for NYCSSS administration were well above budget, and Mr. Brennan explained that this included the need to pre-pay one full year of rent for office space.
  • A deeper staffing analysis led to questions and clarifications about the core goals of the creation of NYC SSS, which include a reduction in the overall labor hours, across all titles (cleaner, handyperson, fireperson, stationary engineer), resulting from the efficiency of staff management and building coverage through a centralized system, coupled with offering prevailing wage levels.
  • Shea indicated that the most accurate analysis of cost savings and efficiency will not be available until next year, after one full year of operation, as there are many variables that have impacted the start-up year. The goal for the corporation is to see savings beginning in 2020. 


New Business

Ms. Rose made a motion to discuss any new business of the corporation, and the motion was approved.  The Board was told of the need to meet prior to September 28 to review the audited statement of the financials prior to submission to the City. Marks Paneth LLP has been selected as the external auditor for the Corporation.

There being no further business, a motion was made and approved to adjourn at approximately 9:50 am.  The next meeting of the NYC SSS Board will be scheduled, pursuant to the September 28 deadline for submission of audited statements.


Respectfully submitted by Natalie Green Giles, Secretary