McMinnville officials are attempting an early termination of an existing uniform contract with Cintas for the Fire Department. The contract is not set to expire until July 2017.
Safety Committee members Mike Neal, chairman, Rick Barnes and Ken Smith unanimously agreed to allow city attorney Tim Pirtle to contact company representatives and inform them the city is terminating the contract due to the company’s default of the guarantee section of the agreement which states Cintas “guarantees to deliver the highest quality textile rental service at all times.”
The decision came after officials asked Pirtle to review the contracts with Cintas involving the city’s Public Works Department and Fire Department after Public Works director Bill Brock and Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield informed the board Aug. 12 their employees were dissatisfied with the appearance of the uniforms and the performance of the company.
Pirtle informed committee members Aug. 26 the contract between Cintas and Public Works was signed on Dec. 13, 2006 and can be terminated on Dec. 13, 2014 with a letter stating the city’s intent to terminate dated at least 60 days prior. However, the contract between Cintas and the Fire Department was signed July 23, 2012 and is not set to expire until 2017.
The committee was given two options on terminating the 2017 contract early, with the first being a forced termination.
“We are going to have to call their hand on performance,” said Pirtle. “They guarantee their service. They guarantee their service in very strong language. Human Resource administrator Jennifer Rigsby has done a good job at documenting the problems and complaints.”
If the city terminates the contract, it will be up to the company if it wants to retaliate legally. Pirtle says this is doubtful.
“If the city calls their hand, they would have to decide if they would want to try to enforce the agreement,” said Pirtle. “I tend to doubt they would because it is really bad public relations to be in litigation with a customer.”
The contract does allow for early termination, but Pirtle advised against the city using that option.
“You can, but I advise against it because it provides Cintas with 50 percent of the continued value of the contract,” said Pirtle. “According to their calculations, 50 percent of the continued value of the contract going forward is right at $50,000. I certainly would not recommend giving a company that hasn’t honored the contract, according to the contract terms, that kind of going-away present. I would suggest the committee authorize me to declare default in their performance of the contract and proceed to void the contract, if possible.”
Smith agreed the company will not force the issue.
“They don’t want to go to binding arbitration because it would be binding arbitration in the state of Tennessee in Warren County,” said Smith. “I agree with you. If worst comes to worst, we can go to arbitration with this.”
Pirtle will contact the company with the city’s intent to terminate the contract due to the company’s default of the satisfaction guarantee.