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Letters to the editor

September 19, 2010
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To the editor:
Please allow me to comment on the recent Internet news service ( article, Poll finds low awareness of green cleaning (November 28, 2006).

I have to begin by admitting that I am a “glass half-full” kind of guy and I am not disputing the results of the poll.

And, when I got up off the floor after reading the headline and read the actual results of the poll, I felt like doing back-flips and popping the cork on a good bottle of Champagne.

Think about it — the poll indicated in a very short period of time a full 40 percent of the respondents reported that at least a quarter of their customers asked them to switch to green cleaning — 40 percent!

Let’s be realistic — there will always be customers who will only buy the cheapest product or service they can find and will never care about green or anything else innovative for that matter.

And there will be parts of the country that are slower to adopt green cleaning than others.

Yet in this national poll, 40 percent found demand from their customers for green cleaning products and services — 40 percent!

Obviously the issue I have with the article is not the methodology or the results. Rather, I take issue with how the data were interpreted.

Forty percent is a remarkable number — absolutely remarkable. And, after recently attending the U.S. Green Building Council’s GreenBuild Conference, where over 13,000 people gathered solely around the issue of green, my belief is that we will continue to see that percentage increase.

To me, the green glass is not 60 percent empty, but is 40 percent full and getting fuller.

Stephen P. Ashkin, President
The Ashkin Group
Bloomington, IN

To the editor:
I recently read the article you published, Hire better, profit more (September 2006, page 44), and am concerned with the advice provided by your author.

The article offers “expert” advice on how to better screen lower-wage applicants for the commercial cleaning and maintenance business. The advice included running an applicant’s free credit report and having the applicant obtain a copy of his/her criminal record search from his/her local police jurisdiction.

Let’s focus on the harm that such information can cause to your readership.

Concerning the advice on the credit report, an employer has some important considerations he must take into account.

For instance, what is bad credit? Finding a definition is nearly impossible.

More often than not, people have derogatory information on their credit report, so good luck trying to define who’s hirable and who’s not.

Further complicating the issue is the fact most companies hiring in this industry are looking for low-wage workers, so finding those with good credit is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The implications of just hiring those with good credit would mean not being able to hire enough people to complete the work.

We haven’t even yet touched on the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) implications of just using credit to determine employment-worthy individuals, or the fact the free credit report can only be accessed by the individual consumer one time each year.

Let’s move on to the advice about the local police check. This might not be such bad advice if the person has only lived in that particular jurisdiction under the name they currently use for at least the past seven years. It’s certainly cheaper than paying someone else to do it.

But what if the applicant lived in other counties? What if they were convicted of crimes under a different name?

The reader of this article is lulled by the false sense that this represents a thorough and complete background check.

Since you can only rely upon the good faith of the applicant in this regard, what seems like a good idea quickly diminishes when considering the aforementioned questions.

My suggestion to your readership is to find a reputable pre-employment company to guide them through a process that can be difficult to understand if you don’t have all of the facts.

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) is an association committed to total quality and compliance in this regard and can help identify a suitable best-practices provider.

You can visit them on the web at

Nick Fishman
Executive vice president
Background Information Services Inc.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hire better, profit more suggested a number of tools that employers can use to screen perspective employees. Free credit reports and criminal record checks can be used effectively when the information contained within them is weighed properly with respect to an applicant’s job application, honesty test, list of references and face-to-face interview. The author stated that criminal record checks are far from perfect, but could still be useful. Finally, it should be noted that no single tool, procedure or even a reputable pre-employment company can guarantee how well an applicant will fare on the job.

CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management®magazine readers and visitors to our five-day-a-week online Internet news service ( are encouraged to send letters to the editor. They must be dated, signed and include contact information. The editor reserves the right to edit letters due to space considerations. Letters to the editor can be sent to

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