Physical Plant Earns Outstanding Work-Site Award

Posted: August 7, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jeremy Lasich

The George Mason Physical Plant recently received the Court Programs Outstanding Work-Site Award from the Fairfax County Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources Program for “exhibiting great support and enthusiasm while working with clients.”

Paul Kashmer, assistant director of administration and personnel for facilities, has been running George Mason’s community service program for 12 years and calls it a “win-win situation.” The program brings inmates from the Fairfax County court system to campus to complete their community service. Depending on the time of year, Kashmer has between 10 to 60 people picking up trash, cleaning George Mason vehicles, digging ditches, and shoveling snow.

“I interview of each one of them,” says Kashmer. “It takes a lot of time on my part, but I think it’s worth it. I let them know they are here to help me with community service and I’m here to help them because we need laborers. We treat them the same way we treat all of our employees and we expect the same in return. It works out pretty good.”

Kashmer notes that he does not work with violent criminals, and the inmates’ more common problems include failure to pay child support, drug use, and shoplifting. He’s worked with doctors and lawyers, and he has even hired a few employees after they finished the program.

“The way I look at is, we need the help and they need a second chance,” he says. “They’re happy to come here because they are out of their cell and we treat them like normal human beings. If they do a good job they can get a good reference.”

Kashmer received a plaque for the honor, which hangs in his office. “They are thanking me for the time I put into this program, and they are thanking the Physical Plant for allowing them to come in and do work. But they don’t have to thank me. I think the campus is looking a lot better because of these guys.”

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