Attorney Derek Davis walks into Justice of the Peace Kristi DeCluitt’s office, where a sign tells cleaning crews not to enter.

Staff photo—Jerry Larson

McLennan County Courthouse employees could be required to take on a little extra work if the commissioners court approves a proposed janitorial cut.

Under the proposal by Precinct 4 Commissioner Ben Perry, courthouse employees would be responsible for cleaning their own offices and work areas.

County jail inmates would clean the courthouse’s common areas.

The proposal calls for converting an open position from Precinct 4 into a sheriff’s deputy position to monitor the inmates during the janitorial work.

The McLennan County Records Building and courthouse annex also would be included in the inmate cleaning docket, but the county’s 10 outlying buildings would not.

Perry said the departments in the remaining county buildings could hire janitors with some of the money previously used for the contract.

By shifting the responsibilities in-house, he said, the county could save about $56,000 per year. The county now pays a contract company about $125,000 for its janitorial services.

The proposal would change a part-time courthouse custodial position to full time, bringing the total custodial staff to three full-time positions.

The county also would purchase about $10,000 worth of cleaning supplies.

Potential criticism

Perry said he already has heard complaints from county department heads about the possible work increase for employees, but Precinct 2 Commissioner Lester Gibson assured him that the county’s janitorial choices always have drawn criticism.

Gibson said he thought the in-house staff that was used before the current contract company did a better job.

County Maintenance Director Sam Sykora said he wasn’t sure three custodial employees would be enough to clean the three buildings as often as necessary. He said the previous in-house cleaning service had four full-time and 10 part-time janitors.

But Sykora said he was willing to give anything a try.

“If you can get people to vacuum their own floors, I think it would work,” he said.

Perry said many county employees are not letting the contract janitors into their offices, so the county is paying for a service it’s not fully using.

“We need staff that would be allowed in offices to clean,” he said.

Kristi DeCluitt, justice of the peace for Precinct 1, Place 1, said she doesn’t allow anyone in her office because things have been stolen. She said she has too many sensitive documents to risk possible theft.

DeCluitt’s staff cleans her office instead.

“I personally don’t want anyone in here,” she said. “We do a much better job anyway.”