Meeting Minutes: March 1st, 2017

NYC School Support Services, Inc.

Board Meeting

March 1, 2017

8:30 am, 321 W. 44th St., Suite 601

 

Meeting Minutes

The meeting of the Board of NYC School Support Services, Inc. (NYCSSS) was called to order at 8:45 am by Chairperson Elizabeth Rose, who welcomed participants to the first meeting in the newly acquired offices of NYC School Support Services and noted that quorum was present to conduct business.

In attendance were:

Elizabeth Rose, NYCSSS Chairperson

Larian Angelo, NYCSSS Treasurer

Natalie Green Giles, NYCSSS Secretary

David Kramer, NYCSSS Board Member

Jose Davila, NYCSSS Board Member

 

Also attending:

Stephen Brennan, NYCSSS Executive Director

John Shea, CEO of the Division of School Facilities

Erin Lester, Special Assistant to Deputy Chancellor Rose

Ralph Cremone, NYCSSS CFO

Arthur Holly, NYCSSS Director of HR

Greg Bracco, NYCSSS Director of Operations

Robert Balducci, Comptroller, NYC Municipal Water Finance Authority, former acting NYCSSS CFO

Shanna Middleton, Assistant Director, Education Task Force, New York City Office of Management and Budget

Russell Buckley, Supervising Analyst, New York City Office of Management and Budget

 

Chairperson Rose called the meeting to order. 

 

  1. Staffing Update 

Executive Director Stephen Brennan provided an operations and staffing update and introduced newly hired NYCSSS senior staff:


Ralph Cremone, CFO
Arthur Holly, Director of HR

Greg Bracco, Director of Operations

Each of the new staff members had the opportunity to speak briefly about their backgrounds and areas of expertise.  In addition, Mr. Brennan noted that two additional staff members had been hired in accounting positions.  Interviews for staff to handle grievance procedures are underway. Currently NYCSSS is utilizing the services of outside consultants to staff call centers and handle most workforce support functions.  A total of 19 staff have been formally hired; the initial organizational chart includes a total of 25 staff members.  The office operates from 8 am – 6 pm.

Mr. Brennan is overseeing the set-up of IT infrastructure, with a goal of trying to get as close to a paperless operation as possible through cloud-based storage. The corporation is in the process of migrating from relying on the support of acting staff from the City’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to utilizing its own full-time staff for financial management as well as custodial payroll review.  A motion was made to officially recognize the exemplary contributions of OMB staff members Robert Balducci and Russell Buckley to the operations of NYCSSS, and the motion was heartily approved by all members of the Board.

 

2. Financial Update


Mr. Brennan walked the Board through the budget projections vs. actuals to date, highlighting that spending is below projections in all areas.  The question was raised about the lag in payroll spending, given that custodial headcount had not changed, and it was clarified by OMB staff that the monies allocated for payroll for FY 2017 were based on a 26 pay period schedule, but the payroll for this initial year of NYCSSS only includes 23.5 payrolls.  The full $231.6 million in payroll and additional $78.8 million in fringe benefits will be spent, but a portion of that money was paid through the DOE’s Division of School Facilities.

 

An inquiry was made into the fact that fringe benefit savings did not appear to be proportionate to payroll savings (a 41 percent variation against budget for fringe vs. a 17 percent variation for payroll).  It was explained that the negotiated agreement with 32BJ caps the fringe benefit payout at 40 hours/week, whereas the Local 94 workers are paid fringe on every hour they work, including overtime.  To date, no new custodial employees have been hired since the inception of NYCSSS.  It was requested that overtime data be prepared and presented to the Board at the next meeting in May, which by then would include six months of data.
 
Administrative expenses for the operations of NYCSSS are calculated on a cash basis, and currently Mr. Brennan is anticipating a $2 million savings this fiscal year from the projected budget.  The $430K overage in office expenses was noted, and Mr. Brennan explained that the original budget for the lease of office space was set at $260,000, based on a $30 sq/ft estimate that did not include a budget for buildout or furniture.  The actual lease for the current space is $48.50 sq/ft, with a fully furnished, built out space.  Further, because the organization has no credit history, the entire first year needed to be paid up front, with a February 1, 2017 starting date (so the annual lease payment extends through two fiscal years).  Mr. Brennan stressed the advantages of the current space, both in terms of the physical, “turnkey” set up to its geographic proximity to both Local 94 and 32 BJ offices.

 

3. Approval of Contracts and Payments


Consideration of six contracts and payments were presented to the Board for review and approval:

  1. Authorization to enter into a sublease with ABM Janitorial Services-Northeast for the corporation’s office space;
  2. Authorization to contract with Ferrilli for Communication Services;
  3. Authorization to contract with Alarmingly Affordable, Inc., for security systems services;
  4. Authorization to make payment to Robert Half Finance and Accounting for placement fees;
  5. Authorization to contract with Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc.; and
  6. Authorization to purchase technology from Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company

Sublease.  Ms. Rose made a motion and it was seconded to put the ABM Janitorial Services-Northeast sublease on the table for authorization.  Ms. Green read the resolution aloud for the Board’s consideration:

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYCSSS is hereby authorized to enter into a sublease with ABM Janitorial Services-Northeast, Inc. for Suite 601 at 321 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 to be used as NYCSSS’s office; and be it further

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


Questions related to the seating capacity, planned configuration, and exact terms of the sublease (three years, with option for another two years) were answered, and there being no further questions, Ms. Rose called for a vote.  The resolution passed unanimously and the sublease was approved.

Communication Services.  Ms. Rose made a motion and it was seconded, to put the Communication Services contract with Ferrilli on the table.  Ms. Green read the resolution for the board’s consideration: 

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYCSSS is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with Ferrilli for $63, 171.08 for communication services; and be it further

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

Mr. Brennan explained the scope of work for the contract, a one-time cost for rewiring the office space and allowing for internet-cloud VOID (voice over internet protocol).  Security infrastructure, including all back up and redundancy of systems, is also included in this contract. It was determined that it was economically advantageous to bring in an outside IT consultant to provide the services rather than hire an internal staff member. 


There being no further questions, Ms. Rose made a motion to vote on the approval of the contract.  The resolution passed unanimously and the contract was approved.

Security System.  Ms. Rose made a motion and it was seconded to put the Alarmingly Affordable contract on the table for consideration.  Ms. Green read the resolution aloud:

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYCSSS is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with Alarmingly Affordable, Inc., for $22,003.64 for security system services; and be it further

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

Mr. Brennan was asked about the particulars of the contract and the sourcing of the vendor.  He cited the quotes he received from other companies, the reputation of this company and his own familiarity with their work.  This expense is a one-time capital expense for the security equipment (cameras, DVR, etc.) deemed necessary given the sensitivity of the NYCSSS personnel data.  The cost includes a maintenance contract for the equipment.

There being no further questions, Ms. Rose made a motion to vote on the approval of the contract.  The resolution passed unanimously and the contract was approved.


Executive Search Service.  Ms. Rose made a motion and it was seconded to put the contract for Robert Half Finance staff search services on the table.  Ms. Green read the resolution for the Board’s consideration:

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYCSSS is hereby authorized to make payment to Robert Half Finance and Accounting for $31,500 for placement fees in connection with NYCSSS’s search for a Chief Financial Officer; and be it further

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

The executive search led to the identification and hiring of CFO Ralph Cremone.  There being no further questions, Ms. Rose made a motion to vote on the approval of the contract.  The resolution passed unanimously and the contract was approved.


Labor Relations.  Ms. Rose made a motion and it was seconded to enter into a contract with Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc. and pay membership dues.  Ms. Green read the resolution for the Board’s consideration:

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYCSSS is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) and pay membership dues of $200,000 annually to the RAB for up to five years in exchange for unlimited advice and counsel on labor and employment legal issues and attorney representation for up to ten labor arbitrations per year; and be it further

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

Board members had questions concerning the nature of the membership dues and labor relations services.  Mr. Brennan and Mr. Shea explained the role of RAB as a private, nonprofit organization, overseeing the governing documents for all residential and commercial properties in NYC.  Mr. Brennan and Mr. Shea noted that all 32BJ and Local 94 employees are governed by this document, regardless of whether they work in a public school building.  The terms of this agreement include up to 10 arbitrations annually, and while NYCSSS has already engaged in eight arbitrations in the past six months, those were previously existing cases.  With the new employment practices of NYCSSS in place, including progressive disciplines and improved training, it is anticipated that the number of arbitrations will be reduced.

Ms. Rose noted a personal connection to a member of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, discovered during the board meeting.  Ms. Rose confirmed that they had not discussed NYCSSS or the contract being considered, but recused herself from the vote on this resolution.

There being no further questions, Ms. Rose made a motion for the other board members to vote on the approval of the contract.  The resolution passed unanimously and the contract was approved.

Procurement of Technology.  Ms. Rose made a motion and it was seconded to consider purchasing 15 personal computers from Hewlett Packard for office staff.  Ms. Green read the resolution for the Board’s consideration:

BE IT RESOLVED, that NYCSSS is hereby authorized to purchase technology equipment from Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company for the sum of $22,719.69; and be it further

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

There being no questions, Ms. Rose made a motion to vote on the approval of the contract.  The resolution passed unanimously and the contract was approved.

 

4. Approval of Meeting Minutes from July 6, 2016 and September 14, 2016

Rose made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from the prior two Board meetings, and the motion was seconded.  Review of the minutes yielded no modifications.  A motion to approve the minutes was made and the Board unanimously voted in favor of approval.

 

5. New Business

A request was made to receive meeting materials at least one week in advance of scheduled meetings to provide adequate review. Lester provided the dates of the upcoming Board meetings: May 10, July 12, and October 11.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:20 am, at which point Mr. Brennan invited all interested Board members to tour the new office facility.

 

Respectfully submitted by Natalie Green Giles, Secretary