State office carpets will collect more dust and the Capitol’s marble may lose some shine over the next two years.
The budget cuts hitting agencies statewide prompted Cory Noffsinger to rethink how his teams will clean state offices at the end of the day. They will focus only on the necessities, said the custodial services manager for the Department of General Administration.
“We had to develop a plan … and that’s where we landed. We had to reschedule the level of services we have with our staffing levels,” Noffsinger said. He has 102 people on his team, down five positions from last year, he said.
The changes affect about 2.1 million square feet of office space, mostly on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. They include:
• Emptying desk side trash twice a week, instead of every night.
• Cleaning carpets once a year, not twice.
• Maintaining hard floors every three months, instead of on demand.
The seat of state government also is affected. Because the domed Legislative Building was rehabilitated in 2004, crews have been shining the marble there once a year.
“It’s just shine. If you don’t do it, there’s no difference in wear” on the marble, operations manager Tim Scott said.
The changes should result only in less of a spit-and-polish presentation, not in a maintenance backlog or offices becoming run-down more quickly, Noffsinger said.
“Most folks in state agencies understand we have to cut back,” he said.
Bathrooms and eating areas still will be cleaned each day, Noffsinger added.
Still, it’s difficult to walk by a table that needs polishing and wait until later, said Greg Govan, a state custodian for 20 years.
“You’ve got to learn to accept ‘no,’” he said.
The traditional way to clean an office is to empty all the trash, clean the floors and vacuum all the carpets every day, Govan said.
He praised the new approach as a thoughtful way to share more work with fewer people. He’s part of a team of six people who clean the six-story Natural Resources Building in Olympia.
“Traditional custodial duties will not, cannot do it,” Govan said. “You have to have a system to clean a building this big.”