Mold report draft leads to more questions about Adams Co. Courthouse air quality

Inside old Adams County jail

QUINCY — After several Adams County employees demanded to see a preliminary environmental report done on the courthouse for mold, Adams County officials turned over the report to the employees.

About a dozen employees attended the Transportation, Building, and Technology that preceded the Adams County Board Tuesday night because they were told they would get to see the report.

During the meeting, Committee Chair Dave Bellis called the report a draft and only a handful of people had actually seen it. Not all of the committee members had even seen it yet.

Committee members also had concerns about “inconsistencies” in the draft report on the testing, conducted by Safestart Environmental of Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Committee member David McCleary (R-Liberty) pointed out that Safestart was awarded the $56,000 contract in February at the request of many employees and it was the higher of the two bids of companies who sought the county’s business.

The committee wants more details from Safestart and will hold a special meeting on June 20 to discuss the contract with the company as well as possibly hire its own local consultant to assist with the project.

But while the report does show “unacceptable” air quality levels throughout the building, it does not recommend closing or sealing off any part of the courthouse.

The testing was conducted in April and Safestart officials met on a Zoom call Monday with two members of the committee. The County is also considering hiring its own consultant, Lance Schuette of Klingner and Associates, to help the county interpret the report.

Schuette, who sat with the committee at Tuesday night’s meeting, pointed out what he called “inconsistencies” with the report. While using a baseline of outdoor air quality levels, he said the report showed levels higher than outdoors as “potentially unacceptable” in one office space, “acceptable” in another and “unacceptable” in a third.

Bellis also pointed out that the number employees who reportedly took part in a survey about the building was off, saying many departments had more surveys conducted than employees in the respective office.

Bellis did say that the old jail and the courthouse subbasement were problem spots for air quality, but not the HVAC system itself, although that system does transmit air throughout the building.

Employees at the meeting requested copies of the survey, the Safestart report and a recording of the Zoom call. State’s Attorney Gary Farha said it wasn’t an official meeting as there was no quorum with only two members. County Clerk Ryan Niekamp provided copies of the Safestart report to the employees and the media and said he would forward survey results on Wednesday.

Bellis then gave a brief report of that committee meeting to the County Board meeting that followed. Other action at that meeting included:

  • Recognizing Sid Wilson for his work as a construction project manager for multiple county building projects including the jail and HVAC work at the Health Department and Juvenile Detention Center. Wilson’s contract with the county is complete at the end of the month.
  • Approving $38,500 for the first lease payment for body and in-care cameras for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Appointing EMS Director John Simon, Dr. Rick Noble from Quincy Medical Group and County Treasurer Bryden Cory to the Opioid Settlement Fund Committee.
  • Appointed Art Tenhouse and Ceil Dix to the Adams County Board for the Care and Treatment of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (377 Board).

The environmental report of the Adams County Courthouse is below.

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