By Nicole Curcio
As the Facilities Department prepares for the departure of its long time director, William Kirker, a transition period is inevitable. Because the department oversees all campus contracting, plumbing, electric, building repairs, gardening, cleaning, and painting, the position necessitates a determined individual, prepared to fill big shoes.
According to Kirker, a transition process for a possible replacement will be taking place over the next two months. Kirker’s 22 years will be coming to a close once the class of 2017 crosses the stage, leaving a short amount of time for a replacement to learn the tricks and trades.
As for the rest of the department “no immediate changes will be made,” Kirker said. However, “when there is a change of director in a department, there is opportunity for things to get reevaluated,” he added. There are no current plans for personnel changes within the department.
Change in the department did occur, though, in September 2016. The positions of grounds and custodial workers, which are usually the workers students see the most often, were outsourced. The workers, now wearing blue shirts instead of green, are part of A&A Maintenance, a custodial company based out of Yonkers, NY. Though they are not wearing green LIU uniforms as the plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and mechanical traders do, they are still overseen by Kirker through their contractor. However, their paychecks and benefits do not come from LIU. Additional outsourcing plans are unknown at this time.
For those Facilities Department employees who still work for the university, Kirker is confident about a smooth transition. “All the guys and ladies have been here for at least 10 years; they all know what to do,” he said. Beth Fungfeld, a secretary in the department, is saddened by Kirker’s departure and curious as to what the future will bring. “We are all heartbroken that he is leaving,” she said.
“What makes it tough is we’ve been together for a long time,” Kirker said. He jokingly said he would like to think that no one could do what he does, but he does not believe in that mentality. “Everyone is replaceable. As soon as you forget that, there will most likely be someone taking your place.”