Meeting Minutes: July 24, 2018

NYC School Support Services, Inc.           
Meeting of the Corporation’s Board       
July 24, 2018, 8:30am, NYCSSS Offices

Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 8:35am by Chairperson Elizabeth Rose, who noted for the record that quorum was present to conduct business. 

In attendance were:

Elizabeth Rose, NYCSSS Chairperson

Natalie Green Giles, NYCSSS Secretary

Nicholas Storellicastro, NYCSSS Treasurer


Also attending:

Stephen Brennan, NYCSSS Executive Director

Anna Taruschio, NYCSSS Chief of Staff

Brooke Jenkins-Lewis, NYCSSS CFO

Greg Bracco, NYCSSS Director of Operations

John Shea, CEO of the Division of School Facilities

Phil Napolitano, Division of School Facilities

Mark David, Division of School Facilities 
Russell Buckley, Division of School Facilities

Erik Osborne, OMB

Ms. Rose reviewed the agenda for the meeting, which included the approval of the February 13, 2018 minutes, a management update and financial report from NYCSSS staff, the approval of a document retention and destruction policy, the approval of a van purchase, a meeting of the audit subcommittee of the Board, approval of a collaterization agreement with JP Morgan Chase, and the consideration of any new business.

Ms. Rose also noted the departure of two NYCSSS Board members since the group last met, Jose Davila and David Kramer, and the ongoing effort to identify new board members for appointment.

Ms. Rose also formally recognized and acknowledged new School Chancellor Richard Carranza, as well as a leadership reorganization at the Department of Education.  As a result of the reorganization, Ms. Rose now holds the title of CEO of School Operations.

Approval of Meeting Minutes from February 13, 2018

Ms. Rose made a motion to review the minutes from the February 13 meeting, and the motion was seconded.  Ms. Giles noted that she did not attend the meeting and requested both clarification of the acting recording secretary and her identification as the individual submitting the minutes.  Ms. Rose moved that the minutes be amended to identify Erin Lester, Special Assistant to Ms. Rose, as the acting recording secretary.  Anna Taruschio, Chief of Staff for NYCSSS, noted that consultation with the legal department confirmed that an absent attendee can still officially submit the meeting minutes as corporate secretary.  With that noted, Ms. Rose made a motion for approval, which was seconded.  The Board unanimously approved the minutes.

Operations/Management Update

NYCSSS Executive Director Stephen Brennan gave the management update, providing a written copy of his presentation to Board members in response to a request made by Ms. Rose at the previous Board meeting.  Of note, Mr. Brennan highlighted the success of expanding recruitment efforts within diverse and higher need populations through city community partnerships (e.g. Women in Need, Brownsville Partnership, Bed-Stuy Restoration Corp); the effort to develop, implement, and document standard operating procedures; the reduction of grievance proceedings, now at 10-15 cases per week; the auditing of excessive overtime and accuracy of rates of pay; the significant reduction of call volume fielded by Customer Service representatives; and the hiring of new Chief of Staff Anna Taruschio, who also serves as legal counsel for NYCSSS.

Board members asked questions about the comparative rate of grievances to the pre-NYCSSS model, when individual custodians handled the procedures.  Mr. Brennan did not have the comparative data and Phil Napolitano of School Facilities noted that previously DOE did not track grievances, as they were handled directly by the unions.  Ms. Rose cited this as an example of the additional transparency of the NYCSSS model and an added benefit, along with the greater consistency of the handling of the grievance process.

Mr. Storellicastro asked about the language proficiency of the Customer Service representatives, and Mr. Brennan responded that current CSR representatives have capabilities in Cantonese, French, and Arabic, in addition to English and Spanish.  He also sought clarification of the new Chief of Staff’s legal position vis a vis DOE Legal counsel.  Ms. Taruschio responded that she has forged a close relationship with her DOE legal counterparts, and that NYCSSS and the City would partner as necessary depending on the configuration of each case.

Board members also asked about current staffing projections, against the original model for 40 staff members for NYCSSS.  Mr. Brennan stated that he was creating a flexible work force, cross-training staff to support areas during peak times, and allowing him to run a leaner organization than originally planned for.  Ms. Rose noted the cost savings in the current NYCSSS staff payroll numbers against original projections.

Finally, Mr. Brennan directed Board members’ attention to the large increase in terminations noted in the report, emphasizing that this number (2,343) representing some data cleanup based on auditor recommendations, with anyone not paid within the last six months dropped from the headcount, rather than any actual terminations of staff.

Financial Report

Brooke Jenkins-Lewis, CFO for NYCSSS, gave the financial report, referring to a power point presentation that had been provided in hard copy to Board members.  The Corporation will begin its second year audit within the next 15 days.  On a bi-weekly basis, NYCSSS pays between 6,800-7,200 employees at a custodial payroll cost averaging $24,500,000.  The average bi-weekly NYCSSS admin payroll cost is $70,000.

Ms. Jenkins-Lewis noted for the record the greater efficiencies realized by NYCSSS in managing vacation replacement (replacement staff are paid at 60% of full salaried employees and are unionized), with anticipated savings in excess of $500,000.  An added benefit of the utilization of the vacation replacement workers is a deep commitment by NYCSSS to convert them to full time hires when openings arise.  With the elimination of inconsistencies in hiring practices, disciplinary procedures, training, staffing and employee support, along with the vacation replacement efficiencies, utilization of labor among merged buildings, and the implementation of route crew, major additional savings are anticipated.

In terms of hours and compensation, overall work hours were reduced by 1.1% if extreme weather hours are factored out.  Ms. Rose questioned why engineers as a group showed the largest change in hours, and Mr. Brennan cited a clean up of titles, ensuring that those with the engineer title actually held the required license to hold that title.

It was finally noted that fiscal year 2018 was the first full year of operation for NYCSSS, so comparative analysis with the previous fiscal year does not provide a truly accurate picture.  However, the analysis with FY 19 will be the first full picture of actual costs and realized efficiencies.  FY 19 is anticipated to be cost neutral, with union contract increases going into effect on January 1, 2019.  Ms. Jenkins-Lewis also noted that these financials are preliminary and unaudited.

Document Retention and Destruction Policy

Ms. Rose made a motion to consider the approval of a document retention and destruction policy and it was seconded.  Ms. Taruschio explained that such a policy is not required but is recommended by not- for-profit law as a best practice.  She noted that the policy is very much a schedule of retention, with time frames for the retention of key documents.  Any documents potentially subject to litigation would not be destroyed.  A question was asked as to the consistency with this policy with DOE policies, and Ms. Taruschio stated that NYCSSS has a significant Human Resources function that the policy is designed to accommodate. 

Ms. Rose put the forward the resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Board adopts the Document Retention and Destruction Policy, dated July 24, 2018; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Executive Director of NYCSSS hereby is authorized and empowered to take all actions and execute such documents as he may deem necessary and appropriate to effectuate these resolutions.

The resolution was unanimously approved.

Approval of Purchase of Ford Transit Van

Ms. Rose made a motion to consider the resolution to authorize the purchase of a Ford Transit Van for use by a route crew and the motion was seconded.

Mr. Shea explained the pilot project, based on a concept of team cleaning in mobile units.  DOE chose school bathroom cleaning as the first test case, an area that has proven to be a bigger burden on building-based custodial teams.  Utilizing DSF power washing and sanitizing equipment, the mobile teams would move through the city school buildings to clean only bathrooms.  Ms. Giles questioned whether this would increase custodial headcount, and Mr. Shea responded that it would, but anticipated that it would greatly improve service and cleanliness of school bathrooms.  The real benefits would only show at scale when such a program is rolled out citywide. 

Ms. Rose questioned the metrics by which the success of the pilot would be judged, and Mr. Shea cited the school stat scores currently in use for custodial work, with a before and after comparison for the pilot schools.  Board members also questioned the capacity of one team with one van, and Mr. Shea conjectured that for a large high school, probably only one school per day, but for a smaller school, perhaps two or three.

There being no further questions, Ms. Rose put forth the resolution, which was unanimously approved.

Resolution to Authorize Purchase of a Ford Transit Van from Ford LLC for an amount up to $26,000

BE IT RESOLVED, that New York City School Support Services, Inc. (“NYCSSS”) is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with Ford LLC for purchase and sale of a new Ford Transit Van for an amount up to $26,000 that will be used to transport employees and equipment to NYC public schools to clean and sanitize restrooms in schools; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Executive Director of NYCSSS hereby is authorized and empowered to take all actions and execute such documents as he may deem necessary and appropriate to effectuate these resolutions.

Meeting of Audit Subcommittee

Ms. Rose made a motion to convene the audit subcommittee of the board, and the motion was approved.  Audit team members include Ms. Rose, Ms. Giles, and Mr. Storellicastro.  Mr. Storellicastro led the audit subcommittee proceedings as chair of the subcommittee.

Four items were on the audit committee agenda: review of executive director expenses; year-end financial audit status; IRS Form 990 review; and consideration of a Collateralization Agreement with JP Morgan Chase.

Executive Director Expense Review. The review of the Executive Director expenses included hard copy handout of copies of all receipts associated with the filed expenses.  It was noted that the Corporation does not have a stated overall expense policy, but submitted receipts exclude any meal and entertainment expenses.  Ms. Rose reminded the committee that this was a “bootstrap start up” operation in its infancy, and that many of the expenses on Mr. Brennan’s personal credit card reflect that.  It was noted, as a procedural matter, that the subcommittee was reviewing, and not voting, on the matters before it.

Year-End Financial Audit.  Ms. Jenkins-Lewis stated that audit sampling had begun and reminded the board that last year NYCSSS received a qualified statement because of the pension liability issue.

IRS 990 Filing.  Mr. Storellicastro noted that the Corporation’s IRS Form 990 had been filed, with a copy provided to the audit subcommittee in advance of filing, as well as in the board packet they had received.

Collaterization Agreement.  Mr. Storellicastro noted a request made at the previous board meeting in February to explore insuring bank balances above the standard FDIC limits of $250,000. The Corporation holds four accounts that, when aggregated, go above said FDIC insurance limit, and that the auditors had requested that the Corporation look into collaterization of its accounts with JPMorgan Chase.  JPMorgan Chase confirmed they could provide this, with no fees payable by the Corporation. As such, Ms. Rose made a motion to approve the resolution to enter into the agreement and it was seconded.

Resolution to Authorize Entry into Pledge, Assignment and Custodial Agreement with JPMorgan Bank, N.A. to Collateralize Certain Unsecured Funds of the Corporation

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYC School Support Services, Inc. (“NYCSSS”) is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with JPMorganChase Bank to collateralize certain unsecured funds; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Executive Director of NYCSSS hereby is authorized and empowered to take all actions and execute such documents as he may deem necessary and appropriate to effectuate these resolutions.

The motion was unanimously approved by the Audit committee.

New Business   

Ms. Rose made a motion to discuss any new business of the Corporation, and the motion was approved.  Ms. Rose spoke of the hard work that goes on during summer while schools are closed to engage in deep cleaning and physical plant improvements, and she formally thanked the custodial staff across the city who engage in this work on behalf of our students.  Ms. Rose also commented on her visits to school buildings with lower school stat scores, which still presented well upon her visual inspection, reinforcing the top quality of the custodial work being conducting in our school buildings.


There being no further business, a motion was made and approved to adjourn at approximately 9:40am.  The next meeting of the NYCSSS Board will be September 18, 2018 at 8:30am, at NYCSSS offices.


Respectfully submitted by Natalie Green Giles, Secretary