LANSING (WWJ/AP) - The company running Michigan prisons is discussing contract costs and may be looking for a raise. The discussion comes as Aramark's performance has been scrutinized about allegations of worker misconduct and food shortages and contamination.
The state is apparently reviewing contract costs related to Aramark Correctional Services.
Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, told the Detroit Free Press that representatives of Florida-based Trinity Services Group have been touring Michigan prison kitchens as part of a "benchmarking review."
Buhs didn't release details about any possible changes to Philadelphia-based Aramark's three-year, $145 million contract -- which ends next year.
Aramark spokeswoman Karen Cutler says: "We respect our clients' privacy and do not discuss business matters publicly."
Aramark's performance has been scrutinized due to allegations of employee misconduct and food contamination. The company has said it's working to correct any issues. The state fined the company last year.
At least three dozen Aramark employees have been banned from prisons for violations since the company took over. Just this week, an ex-food service worker was accused of trying to orchestrate the assault of an inmate.
Democrats and a liberal advocacy group have called on Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, to cancel the Aramark deal, saying problems were inevitable because of high turnover and lower pay for private workers who replaced roughly 370 state employees who lost their jobs in the outsourcing.
The governor has defended the decision to stick with the food vendor, saying the state was on pace to save $14 million a year through privatization. He also absolved Aramark of responsibility for suspected food poisoning and maggot problems.
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