Contractor guidelines to be examined by task force

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton recently appointed a task force to recommend a policy, or set of principles, to guide the University in assuring that its contractors secure the welfare of their employees through competitive compensation and honorable workplaces.

The Task Force on Contractor Employees came about after Wrighton reviewed the current standards in place for the contracting of outside sources to provide ongoing services to the Hilltop Campus community.

“I am mindful of, and grateful for, the vital roles that all who work on the Hilltop Campus play in advancing the mission of Washington University,” Wrighton wrote in announcing the formation of the task force. “Some who work here daily are employed by firms that the University has identified as possessing distinctive competencies in managing the delivery of certain important services to the students, faculty and others who use our facilities.

Task Force on Contractor Employees

Ann B. Prenatt, chair. Other task force members are: Justin X. Carroll, assistant vice chancellor for students and dean of students; Michael J. Dunlap, controller, accounting services; Kenneth B. Edwards, senior student in the School of Engineering & Applied Science;

Michael M. Greenfield, J.D., the Walter D. Coles Professor of Law; Steven P. Hoffner, assistant vice chancellor for students and director of operations; Alan S. Kuebler, executive director for resource management; Judi McLean Parks, Ph.D., the Reuben C. and Anne Carpenter Taylor Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Olin School of Business;

Sergio Salmeron, senior student in Arts & Sciences; Joseph J. Sklansky, associate general counsel; and Ralph H. Thaman Jr., associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management.

“I am also mindful of the concerns that have been voiced in the growing and healthy national debate about the welfare of those who work for firms that provide service by contract to other, often larger employers.

“My review of the arrangements Washington University currently has in place with firms to provide certain services on the Hilltop Campus suggests that the University only ‘outsources’ where the University is not itself positioned or staffed to manage the delivery of the needed services as well and as efficiently as a specialized contractor can; and where the contractors entrusted with work on our campus have demonstrated their commitment to providing the most competitive wages and benefits to their employees in a work-place that is respectful and welcoming.

“But my review also suggests that while our contracting procedures are very much directed to these ends, they are not formalized and available to all for review and comment.”

Ann B. Prenatt, vice chancellor for human resources, is chairing the task force, which will provide its recommendations to Wrighton by July 1.

“Our goal should be nothing less than a campus where all who work here do so with pride and with confidence that they have been well and fairly rewarded,” Wrighton said.

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