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Broome County to End Contract Between Aramark and Willow Point

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Broome County plans to end the contract between Aramark and the Willow Point Nursing Home within the next 18 months. Wednesday's announcement from County Executive Jason Garnar comes just two days after he voiced his dissatisfaction with the quality of food service that the company provides to the nearly 300 residents on Monday.

"I've made it clear that I have major concerns at Willow Point that must be addressed immediately, my administration at Willow Point isn't happy, the residents aren't happy, the families aren't happy...I have informed Aramark representatives of my intent to disengage from this contract," said Garnar.

On Wednesday evening, Aramark responded with this statement:

We appreciate the County’s interest in what should have been a viable public-private partnership. We regret that the relationship did not work out like it has in thousands of other locations where we provide needed services while delivering savings to communities. We thank the citizens of Broome County for the opportunity to serve them, and thank our local employees for their hard work and dedication. We will continue to support the County to ensure a smooth transition.

— Chris Collom, Aramark Communications

According to Garnar, the current contract runs through December of 2020 but it can be terminated earlier if both sides agree and give a year-and-a-half notice. Alternatively, the contract could be voided earlier if both the county and Aramark could agree on a date that's sooner than 18 months.

"Terminating this contract has to be done because the issues with Aramark's food service at Willow Point have become unacceptable and we really needed to take action now," said Garnar.

On Tuesday, Garnar as well as County Legislative Chairman Dan Reynolds, Deputy County Executive Kevin McManus, Legislator Kelly Wildoner, and County Attorney Bob Behnke met with Aramark Representatives to discuss their future together. The County Executive says he will file an official letter to the company regarding his intent to end the contract later this week.

"In the short term, Aramark representatives said that they will honor their commitment to the contract and make adjustments at Willow Point to increase the quality of the food service there," said Garnar. On Monday, Aramark representatives acknowledged the problems at Willow Point.

We share the County's dissatisfaction with the performance at Willow Point and are committed to working together to improve and deliver high quality service like we strive to do for all our customers. We are taking action with the County to address the issues and have already made investments to correct the operations and infrastructure. 

— Chris Collom, Aramark Communications on Monday, February 12, 2018

The county will plan on drafting up a new Request for Proposal in hopes of signing a better contract.

"One of the things we're going to have to talk about is how are we going to construct an RFP to get as many people responding to this proposal as possible," said Garnar.

Aramark also provides food service to the Broome County Jail, Meals on Wheels, and various Senior Citizen Centers. All of the Department Leaders from those organizations are on board with Garnar's decision to look for a new company.