Yours, Mine, and Ours 

Ownership of MCS maintenance equipment still unclear.

Trammell Crow may have won the Memphis City Schools’ facilities maintenance battle, but the company’s predecessor is still in the war. At this week’s meeting, school board members questioned district administrators about the management transition since awarding Trammell Crow the contract in April.

MCS chief operations officer Lavon Alston presented an update recently during a committee meeting. While his report included a timeline of completed events, it also revealed a problem with existing maintenance equipment previously used by Aramark.

The company has said that much of the equipment now used in the district’s schools and warehouse — mops and buckets, as well as larger items like electric waxers — belongs to the company because of the initial contract agreement. But the district says they own some of the equipment. Superintendent Carol Johnson said administrators have talked with Aramark and that the company has other plans for their equipment and will not leave it with the district after their contract ends June 30th.

“The debate is who does own [the equipment]. The contract was signed 12 years ago [with Aramark] and the language is vague,” said Alston.

According to that June 1993, contract “all equipment provided by ServiceMaster [Aramark] in connection with management services ... shall remain the property of ServiceMaster [Aramark].” But the contract also maintained that existing maintenance service equipment shall be provided by the district.

“The issue really is that much of the equipment is now outdated,” said city schools attorney Percy Harvey. “Since we decided to have Trammell Crow bring in new equipment anyway, it may not be worth it to challenge [Aramark] on it.”

Whether Aramark pursues legal action, it will not deter Trammell Crow from beginning their contractual obligations on July 1st, company representatives said. Trammell Crow’s $2.7 million bid, including costs for equipment purchases, was the lowest of those considered by the district.

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