YSU goes with Chartwells as food vendor
By Denise Dick
The committee appointed to recommend a new food service vendor at Youngstown State University followed the proper procedure, and its recommendation stands.
The university’s student affairs division isn’t required to bring a dining-services contract before trustees for approval, but Jack Fahey, vice president, said he brought it before trustees to inform them of the decision.
Last week, Trustee Harry Meshel questioned the integrity of the process, in which a 12-member committee recommended Chartwells, a company with offices all over the country. Meshel said last week that he had met with representatives from AVI of Warren and he accused Chartwells of providing “fallacious” numbers in its proposal.
That prompted members of trustees’ Academic Quality and Student Success committee to request a meeting with the committee that made the recommendation to review the process used.
Nine of the 12 committee members attended the meeting Tuesday. The committee included three students with the remainder university employees.
Matt Novotny, executive director for student services, who led the committee, said that each of the four companies that submitted proposals conducted its own market research and the committee reviewed all proposals.
Meshel had questioned Chartwells’ projection that it would pay $249,237 to YSU the first year and $375,777, based on revenue anticipated from sales.
Novotny said that increase is based on the addition of Chick-Fil-A the second year as well as modifications to the student meal plan.
Richard Martin of AVI told committee members that it’s not about money to AVI — it’s about community.
“If we did one thing wrong it was to be too transparent,” he said.
Martin said AVI has flexible plans, too.
“I’d like to see the committee go back and negotiate with everyone,” he said, pointing out that language allowing that is in the request for proposals.
Sodexo, which has been at the university for more than 20 years, is leaving June 30.
Novotny said he’s concerned that reopening the selection process would make it difficult to have someone in place by the time Sodexo leaves.
Trustee Delores Crawford said the selection committee followed procedure.
“The process was not flawed,” she said.