This week, however, the school is contradicting this trend with the addition of six new security guards. Contracted guards Valeria Maskney, Damon Harris, Alexis Smith, Deena Pryor, Michael Grant and Maurice Henry, have joined the three remaining unionized security officers Paul Clemens, Tom Joseph and Mike Piper, to collectively fill the hours of a an earlier cut position.
In February, one unionized officer was laid off due to budget cuts, leaving not only a great deal of slack for the other security guards to pick up, but also leaving them with no time for vacation or time to be sick, according to Milt Thompson. This cut also led to a lack of security coverage at night, leaving students to fend for themselves.
During the Board of Trustees meeting in Cincinnati in August, these issues came to light and it was deemed necessary to restore the security coverage that was lost when one of the fulltime security positions was eliminated, according to Thompson.
With the school currently operating without an officially approved budget in place, the school is contracting the new officers from a fully licensed security agency, to which they pay a flat fee for services, instead of a fulltime salary plus benefits.
The new security guards, employees of First National Security Incorporated, undergo a 20-hour training course that’s equivalent to the training Ohio State Patrol and Deputy Sheriffs go through, said Thompson.
The six new guards, including two directors of the company, went through SOPP and RDPP seminars on September 26, and will continue their training until this Friday.
“We are replacing what used to be a fulltime person’s position with a temporary service to get us through this year,” Thompson commented. Although only one additional guard will work during each new shift per day, six were hired. “With any security company you seldom get the same person all the time. … [There is] a better chance of someone being here every night [instead of] depending on one person,” Thomson said. He also emphasized that the addition of these new guards will have no impact on the fulltime officer’s Union contract since they are not being hired as fulltime employees. “What’s been brought back is a temporary service to cover the hours, which are greatly reduced from the amount that the fulltime person would get paid with benefits.”
Weekends will be patrolled more heavily as shifts are added. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there will now be security working from 8 a.m. to 6 a.m.. Day coverage during the week continues to falls back on Head of Physical Plant Darryl Cook.
For now, the security office is concentrating on having additional coverage at least on these days, but will have other days covered if possible. “The goal is not to put security where we don’t need it and that is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon. After four o’clock, after classes in the evening, the later part of the week, that’s historically when campuses need more presence,” Thompson explains.
Their main task is to return security to its operating capacity that was in place when there were four security guards. They will be performing the same duties that the officers are doing now, but they will also lighten the load of those who would have been working alone. They will enable security to assist students more promptly and to provide the community with additional help in general.