Last Day on the Job

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The Rockford Public School district laid off these employees after deciding to outsource the work to Chicago based company, SBM Maintenance, but this day is actually a relief.

Doug “do-it-all” Wallbank has been at Lincoln Middle School for 20 years.

On his last day he tells 23 News, "I'm taking my positive attitude with me they didn't get that, did they? They didn't get it so I’m taking it with me to my next job."

Wallbank is leaving the district knowing he gave them some of his best years. At Players Pizza Pub Friday afternoon custodians gathered not to be bitter and upset, but to reflect and breath a sigh of relief.

Phillip Hawks was a custodian at Lathrop Elementary School for four years. On his last day he stated, "It's a load off your shoulder. No more meetings, no more so-called negotiations. I'm looking forward to the future. I'm not sad."

The past few months have been taxing and all the custodians could do was watch the clock knowing when they punched out they would be unemployed, and they don't know who will be taking their place.

Eisenhower Middle School custodian Jerry Walker says, "Good luck Rockford 205. What you brought in here it's not going to help Rockford. It's going to deteriorate Rockford."

Brad Gillis spent the past 19 years at East High School. In fact he's the third generation of Gillis's to work for the district. With so much time on the job, you can only imagine that he has quite the stories to tell.

Brad said, "My favorite was the blizzard of ’78-‘79. The school was closed for two weeks."

But before he drove away from East High School and what will now be known as his past Gillis wanted to make sure one main point came across.

He tells 23 News, "Thank you to the public that supported us."

About 40 of the 176 custodians have accepted a position with SBM Maintenance. SBM has already been working with the district, but will officially be in charge of the maintenance at every school on Monday.