County, BEi team up with cleaning contract approval

Photo submitted to Times Observer Staff and clients of Bollinger Enterprises Inc. (BEi) gathered with Warren County commissioners for a photo after the commissioners approved a contract making BEi the county’s cleaning service provider. Pictured (from left) are: Commissioner Jeff Eggleston, Terry Martin, Mike Hahn, Greg Bonavita, Commissioner Ben Kafferlin, Natalie Mashensic, Bill Dies, Jeanine Valencia, Ashley Hummer, and BEi Executive Director Dr. Bill Clark.

The Warren County commissioners unanimously approved a cleaning contract with Bollinger Enterprises Inc. (BEi) this week.

Clients from BEi will handle a variety of cleaning tasks in the courthouse, the Hickory Street annex, the Conservation District office on Hatch Run, and the Rouse Annex Building.

The mission of BEi is to “enrich the lives of people with disabilities…”

The federal government has assigned a target of 15 percent employment of people with disabilities.

BEi is working to move its clients out of a sheltered workshop environment as much as possible and into the community.

“As you know, Gov. (Tom) Wolf has pushed for Pennsylvania to be an ’employment first’ state and is encouraging companies to employ individuals with disabilities as a part of that initiative,” BEi Executive Director Dr. William Clark said. “It is nice to see that the county is moving in that direction.”

“During a bid process for cleaning services earlier in the year, BEi was competitive, which prompted the commissioners to take a closer look at BEi as a partner going forward,” Eggleston said. “It was determined that a hybrid plan would be appropriate to meet BEi’s federal and state regulations increasing integration of persons with disabilities into the workforce.”

“On a daily basis, they will be spending time in the courthouse cleaning,” Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said.

“The goal is to have them interact with their chronological peers,” Clark said.

To satisfy the requirements of the act, there must be interaction. Just having BEi clients cleaning the courthouse at night is not enough, Clark said.

Some of the more intrusive and loud services, like vacuuming, will be accomplished at night. “Soft cleaning” — including garbage removal — will be done during the day, Clark said.

“I think this is a very exciting opportunity for BEi’s consumers and staff to integrate themselves into county government and take a more active role in supporting services to the community,” Eggleston said.

The agreement will take effect at the end of November, at which time BEi will be completely responsible for the general cleaning of county facilities, he said. BEi will take the place of current provider Bonded Services.

“I’m very grateful to Bonded for their service,” Eggleston said. “They’ve been very understanding.”