County Board votes for second opinion on mold testing

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QUINCY – After a contentious relationship with the company that did the first mold testing on the Adams County Courthouse, the Adams County Board is looking to hire a second company to examine the building.

On Tuesday night, the Board voted to hire John A. Jurgiel and Associates of St. Louis to perform tests on the building, provided the company agreed to a few minor changes in the terms of a contract.

Jurgiel is considered an industrial hygienist. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says industrial hygienists are scientists and engineers who analyze, identify, and measure workplace hazards or stresses that can cause sickness, impaired health or significant discomfort in workers through chemical, physical, ergonomic or biological exposures.

The County hired Safestart Environmental of Chicago to test the building and company officials did so in April. They relayed their findings to some members of the County Board in May and the entire Board was given the report in June.

County officials claim Safestart told them a different story in May than they did during a Zoom meeting the company sponsored on June 28, where company officials and experts they provided said work should stop in the building.

Safestart is to provide a copy of the zoom meeting to the County after County officials send Safestart the minutes from the County Board’s June meeting and the special meeting on July 5. Those minutes were to be sent to Safestart Wednesday and Transportation, Building, and Technology Committee Chairman Dave Bellis (R-District 3) said the county would make that recording available to the public when it receives it.

Bellis said Jurgiel will perform the tests, provide an in-person explanation of the results and help the county form a remediation plan, but they will not do the remediation work, at a cost of no more than $3,500. That price is significantly lower than the $56,000 paid to Safestart.

Jurgiel officials said they planned to do the testing this month, depending on weather conditions, as they do not want to test during rain as they want to do outside samples to serve as a baseline to the samples they take inside the Courthouse.

A handful of County employees attended the committee meeting before the full County Board meeting and asked why more testing was needed.

“It’s like when a doctor tells you you have cancer,” Ryan Hinkamper (R-District 2) said. “You might want to go get a second opinion.”

As employees pressed about the building’s safety, Bellis said he believed the building is safe for most employees and the County Board is “100 percent committed” to solving the problem.

County officials are providing masks to employees who want them, but some employees have been taking sick days in various offices because of the issue.

In other action, Health and Safety Committee Chair Barb Fletcher (R-District 2) told the Board the Adams County Ambulance Service has hired three new EMTs and is in the process of starting an EMT academy to train people who want the positions.

The Board also approved the state mandated salary increases for the positions of state’s attorney ($188,757) chief public defender ($169,878) and sheriff ($151,003).

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