Mold mitigation to begin Monday at county EOC

The mold that was first discovered in Jackson County’s Emergency Management Center shortly after it was built in 2010 will soon be removed.
Beginning Monday, a mitigation crew will start replacing ceiling tiles and insulation, and doing whatever else is necessary to get rid of the damage.

The county is paying for the work up front, at $48,133, but will seek reimbursement from project architect Donofro and Associates, according to Jackson County Administrator Ted Lakey.

The mold was noted in two county-ordered inspections, and another inspection was ordered by the project’s general contractor, White Rock Construction. The county inspections were ordered after staff complained of an odor and respiratory discomfort. Those reports started coming in roughly six weeks after the 10,000 sq. ft. structure was completed and occupied by staff.

With the reports varying as to the severity and cause of the problem, the county has spent roughly two years trying to decide which report to believe, how to take care of the problem, and who to hold responsible.

While the work is being done over the next two weeks, most of the county’s five staff members will be on paid administrative leave and some will be on call, like Jackson County Fire Rescue Chief Tony Wesley and Emergency Management Director Rodney Andreasen, who said he plans to attend some meetings in Panama City during the period in connection with upcoming training exercises.

Lakey said the county will also seek reimbursement from Donofro for the five workers’ pay during the office shut-down period.
All the county staff members are expected to return to work on Jan. 3, 2013.