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Feedback: The condition of the stairwells and hallways in parts of Bldg. 10 are in poor shape. The walls and floors are stained, dirty and dusty. The stairwell on the D corridor doesn’t look like it has been painted in many years. The long corridor that leads to the cafeteria on the B1 level is also nasty. MLP-9 is also in need of a cleaning. The dust in the stairwells and on the window sills is at least 3 inches thick. I would think that a place like NIH that receives many visitors would provide a cleaner environment for [its] employees and visitors. Is there a contract in place for the cleaning and upkeep of these areas?
Response from Office of Research Facilities
Thank you for your comments regarding the condition of NIH buildings. Unfortunately, NIH has a backlog of maintenance and repair of over $1.8 billion. This requires us to triage repairs and maintenance efforts. Architectural features, while highly visible, are not always a high priority, since the underlying mechanical, electrical, plumbing, elevator and fire protection systems are responsible for the highest risks, such as fires, floods, power outages, elevator outages and other high-consequence events.
The Office of Research Facilities, guided by the facilities working group, has developed an ambitious plan to recapitalize our facilities and has requested funding for this program. However, as you can appreciate, there is stiff competition for funds. One potential solution is that an institute/center could fund the common area improvements you’ve described, subject to certain appropriation law constraints, in a fashion comparable to “Adopt a Road” programs.
As to your question about areas that are in need of simple “cleaning and upkeep,” NIH does hold a contract for housekeeping in the Clinical Center to address issues of general cleanliness. ORF will address your concerns about the MLP-9 parking garage. Recently, a routine, general sweeping of garage floors was completed. The cleaning of interior and exterior windows, light fixtures and elevator shafts is still ongoing. In Bldg. 10, the areas adjacent to the long corridor on the B1 level leading to the cafeteria are slated for renovation. As part of the renovation, improvements will be made to the corridor walls, including painting. If you see any other area in the building that has not been maintained properly, contact the ORF maintenance line at (301) 435-8000 and the issue will be promptly addressed. We agree the Clinical Center and all NIH facilities are destinations both visitors and employees should be proud of.
Feedback: Can you provide an update to phased retirement? The law passed in 2014 and HHS said a policy would be released in 2016.
Response from Office of Human Resources
On Aug. 7, 2014, the Office of Personnel Management issued final regulations on phased retirement, and on Nov. 6, 2014, the final regulations took effect. Prior to participating in phased retirement and accepting applications, agencies must first take preparatory steps and develop an internal policy. Phased retirement is not yet available within DHHS. Once DHHS decides to adopt phased retirement, NIH must develop an internal policy for implementation procedures and complete the following:
- Discuss with our labor partners;
- Provide training to employees, managers and HR professionals
- Ensure that the department implements a phased retirement mentoring program necessary to fully comply with the regulations.
Upon the establishment of the HHS policy and the availability of the program to NIH employees, information will be disseminated via various communication sources such as NIH-wide listserv notices, the Benefits Newsletter and HR News.
Information on phased retirement may be viewed at https://chcoc.gov/sites/default/files/Employment-as-a-Phased-Retiree-Q-and-A.pdf.
Questions may be directed to your benefits contact or to AskBPLB@od.nih.gov. To locate your benefits contact, visit https://hr.od.nih.gov/benefits/benefitscontacts.htm.