Commissioners approve jail food contract

By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

For the first time, the Clermont County Jail will be outsourcing food services for inmates.

Clermont County Commissioners approved a $414,608 contract with CBM Managed Services for food services at the jail during their April 23 session.

Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said the contract is a complete change of operations for the jail.

“Historically, long before I got here, the jail food service was provided internally,” Rodenberg said. “Cooks were hired, food was bought from vendors and cooked and served to inmates.”

Rodenberg said operations remained mostly the same until recently.

“Over the past few years, prices steadily escalated,” Rodenberg said.

He said meal prices increased from about $1 per meal to $1.50 per meal.

“That’s a 50 percent increase,” Rodenberg said.

He said they serve around 900 meals per day at the jail, 365 days per year.

“Our food cost was about $800,000 per year doing it internally,” Rodenberg said.

Rodenberg said county officials put the food service contract out for bid around the first of the year.

Commissioners awarded the bid and approved the contract for CBM Managed Services, a company out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota that specializes food services for county, state and federal correctional facilities as well as health care facilities, school districts and corporate dining cafeterias, according to the company’s website.

“It’s going to save us almost $400,000 per year,” Rodenberg said. “Cutting the cost of our meals in half.”

Rodenberg said his two concerns with outsourcing the food service were losing the employees at the jail and monitoring the quality of the services.

Rodenberg said that in the contract with CBM Managed Services, the company agreed to interview the existing employees at the jail.

“There are five cooks on payroll,” Rodenberg said. “They will interview the existing staff.”

Rodenberg said he would like to see the staff be hired by the company.

“That was one of my major concerns,” Rodenberg said.

Rodenberg said because the company is bigger, they can buy food in bigger bulk and get a lower price.

“The only other concern I have and want to watch is the quality and quantity of the food,” Rodenberg said.

He said the food does not have to be comparable to a five-star restaurant, but it should still meet the standards of quality to be served to the inmates.

“There are jail standards and laws we have to follow,” Rodenberg said.

Rodenberg said he believes they found a vendor that is suitable and that has a good track record to provide the services.

“I don’t expect there to be any problems,” he said.

Rodenberg said given the amount of money that could be saved, he feels it was something they had to do.

Clermont County Commissioners approved the contract for food services April 23.

The contract will come up for renewal again in 2016.

“This is probably the biggest savings year-to-date we’ve seen,” Clermont County Commissioner David Uible said.

Uible thanked Rodenberg and his staff for their hard work on the contract.

For more information about CBM Managed Services, visit