Although some precautionary measures were taken, the problem returned when John Stoffa took over as Exec and renovations extended into other row offices. Some people caught pneumonia, while others experienced itching, coughing and watery eyes.
As a result of complaints, the state DEP was called. Investigator Don Koehler inspected the Courthouse, and found no evidence of any asbestos violations. Director of Public Works Steve DeSalva told me safety is his primary concern, and asked anyone to call him if something seems wrong.
Bill Hillanbrand, then a Stoffa cabinet member (he's now in Emergency Management), wrote this: "It's 2:50 a.m., and I am awake. I am concerned that an employee feels that the administration does not care about their employees. I am also a county worker. ... If any county worker wishes to contact me, stop me in the hallway of the courthouse; phone me 610-559-3091; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come to my office. My office is located in the basement with Orphan's Court. I am not a miracle worker, but I will do the best I can to help. Thanks, Bill"
When a Stoffa administrator reaches out like this, it's pretty obvious that he cares. When someone like DeSalva puts in the hours he puts in, doing the work of three engineers, it's clear he's doing his best.
Our County Controller, Barron von Footinmouth, cares, too. But it's not about employee welfare. It's about his re-election. Last Septemer, Barron was awarded an ET Turkey for a "thinly veiled threat on behalf of union organizers" at T-Mobile, and a subsequent "non-apology" in which he refused to admit "he misused his authority by hinting at official retribution against an employer." He was also censured by County Council.
Barron's next little trick was to complain to the DEP about possible asbestos contamination, some of it from as long as 14 years ago. They've investigated again, and this time, they might have found something. There might be fines, which we will have to pay. Thanks, Steve.
Barron tells the Express Times he went public because the Stoffa administration "left me no choice." In other words, an administration that loses sleep over safety complaints, would callously disregard concerns about asbestos.
I smell a bit fat bullshit burger.
When you come right down to it, I know of NO business or government with aging buildings that could avoid an asbestos contamination claim. Years ago, that was what was used.
Barron's real motives became clear in an email that Dem Party Boss Walt Garvin sent to Committee members yesterday, encouraging them to vote in an Express Times poll on whether Barron handled this situation properly.
He didn't, but Dem Committee members will help their "independent" boy.
As one of my readers noted, "the County is left paying for [Barron's] childish antics. He is going to cost the County big bucks on something that was already being handled. I hope the voters send him a message and give him his walking papers. He can't even do his job, yet he cries to the EPA, because he has a beef with Stoffa. Who can we cry to when we have a beef with Barron for not doing what he was elected to do? This guy needs a strong dose of reality."