Friday, July 19, 2013

Milwaukee County Courthouse Still A Hot Spot

Two weeks ago, the Milwaukee County Courthouse caught on fire when some faulty and outdated electrical equipment finally failed.  It was learned that Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele knew of the problem, but did not attend to the critical issue because he was too busy buying votes to allow him to usurp control of the county.

Since then we have learned just how screwed up the whole situation was and continues to be.

For instance, we have learned that the fire had been burning for thirty minutes before the fire department was even called:
Up to 30 minutes elapsed between the time fire alarms sounded a week ago for the electrical fire at the Milwaukee County Courthouse and when a 911 call was placed to alert the Fire Department, the Journal Sentinel has learned.

Both the courthouse and adjoining Safety Building were affected by the July 6 fire, which knocked out power and resulted in smoke damage in both buildings. An expensive, around-the-clock cleanup effort has been under way since the fire struck.

The Safety Building reopened Wednesday, but the courthouse will only partially open Monday for the first time in more than a week. Crews were continuing to replace ceiling panels and to clean or replace carpeting throughout the building.

The delay could have made a difference in the amount of damage to the buildings.
Abele's interim facilities management director Gary Waszak said that they were still investigation but that everything appeared to be working as it should.

Somehow, I don't believe that having a fire burning for 30 minutes, with smoke wafting through the halls and the ducts, would connote a system working at all, much less working well.

Cog Dis has also learned that the damage from the fire might be more extensive than what is being reported.  It could be as much as three months before the cleaning work is done and the fried electrical system can be replaced

Workers have also expressed concern over the air quality.  Given the age of the electrical equipment, the coating of the wires might very well have contained PCBs, a highly carcinogenic chemical, which would have been sent into the air and throughout the building via the ducts.

And that does not include the oppressive heat which has sickened deputies and other staffers that have returned to the building.

One of the most ironic things about the fire so far is the extent to which Abele and his defenders will go to try to shift the blame from him.  There has been attempts to share the blame for Abele's negligence on the County Board, while others want to try to shift all the blame on the Board.

The fact is that Abele could have easily addressed the issue of the faulty and outdated systems as soon as he was aware of the issue.  Instead, he decided to devote his time and energy in usurping the power of Milwaukee County.

And that is where the irony comes in.

One of the main excuses Abele used for his power grab was that Board was spending too much time micromanaging activities and staff under his authority.  Now he is trying to blame the fire on the Board by claiming they weren't doing enough micromanaging.

If the gentle reader is shaking their head at Abele's hypocrisy and absurdity, rest assured, you're not the only one.

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