New firm sought for security at Union Station in Worcester
Nick Kotsopoulos Telegram & Gazette Staff @NCKotsopoulos
WORCESTER – A new vendor is being sought to provide security at Union Station after the Worcester Redevelopment Authority and the firm that has been providing those services agreed to terminate their contract. Michael E. Traynor, the city’s chief development officer, said there have been reoccurring issues regarding security coverage at Union Station because Rhode Island-based RIBI Security has been having trouble hiring people to provide enough coverage for the station. As a result, he said, a mutual decision was made for early termination of the contract.
RIBI Security will continue to provide security services at Union Station until a new vendor is brought on board. The WRA spends roughly $20,000 per month for security services. That provides for 21-hour coverage at Union Station, from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. John Odell, city director of energy and assets, said three security officers cover Union Station during the morning and evening rush hours, while two officers cover the station during all other times.
“The basic problem is that they (RIBI) are having a very hard time keeping qualified personnel on site,” Mr. Odell told the WRA board Friday. “Part of that is the fact that the minimum wage has increased and that puts a very tight margin on their program right now.
“Because of that, they are competing against other low-paying jobs, which is making it very hard for them to staff at levels we want and need,” he added. “So, the mutual consideration for both parties was if we terminate the agreement now and redo the bid we will be able to bring in better qualified people and get better security for Union Station.”
Mr. Odell said the expectations are that the wages for the security positions are going to have to go up. He said the WRA could also perhaps pursue using security firms that are on the state bid list. He said those prices tend to be a little bit higher, but they also tend to meet a higher threshold for qualifications under the state Division of Capital Asset and Maintenance.
“That is something we’re also going to actively look into,” Mr. Odell said. The WRA board voted, as recommended, to terminate the contract with RIBI Security and it also authorized issuing a request for proposals for the security services contract.
WRA board member Michael Angelini broached the idea of whether the security services for Union Station could be consolidated with other security contracts, such as the one for the nearby Worcester Regional Transit Authority hub.