LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Department of Corrections will return to state-run food service operations this summer after coming to a mutual agreement with Trinity Services Group to end the partnership when the contract expires.
The change, which would bring about 350 state workers back to correctional facility kitchens, was announced in Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget recommendation presentation Wednesday.
“As the contract with Trinity was approaching its end, we took the opportunity to re-examine our operations,” Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington said. “After discussing options with Trinity, it was determined it was in the best interest of both parties not to renew our agreement. We believe the department’s needs would be better met by returning to state-run food service.”
While food service contracts achieved savings for taxpayers, the MDOC determined that continued challenges with staffing vacancies, turnover, compliance with performance expectations, and a recent request by Trinity for additional funding, warranted a return to state-run operations.
The department’s previous contract with Aramark started in December 2013 and ended in 2015.
About 320 Trinity food service workers are currently employed at Michigan correctional facility kitchens. The department’s contract with Trinity Services Group expires July 31, 2018. Company leaders and the department agreed to end the partnership following discussions on Tuesday.
Budget language first approved in 2012 required the open bidding of food service operations to reduce correctional costs. The boilerplate language requiring the open bidding of food service is no longer in place, but the change would still require the Legislature to appropriate sufficient funds for these operations moving forward.