By Belinda M. Paschal and Bethany J. Royer
TROY — After Miami County Commissioners convened earlier Tuesday from discussions on courthouse renovations, (See sidebar for full story) Dave Fisher, Chairman for the Miami County Democratic Party, held a press conference concerning results of a mold analysis at the building.
“I, in good conscience, can’t sit on this,” said Fisher of mold found in just one of many tiles inside the courthouse, citing it is a health hazard not only to those who work there but those visiting. He added that as as worker in the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning industry for a number of years, he is adept at recognizing when a building has mold issues.
The analysis by Turn-Key Environmental Consultants of Troy revealed moderate levels of both Aspergillus and Cladosporum fungi, as well as light amounts of Stachybotrys mold.
Fisher said some courthouse employees reported reactions such as rashes, open wounds, nose-bleeds and respiratory problems. He said that these individuals had approached him about that matter rather than speaking with city officials because of what he described as “a culture of workplace intimidation.”
“They know I get things done,” continued Fisher, who had put on rubber gloves before unveiling a tile containing mold that had leached through from the inside out.
This particular tile had been taken from the Board of Elections office, but Fisher said the mold problem also affected the second and third floors of the building.
“This is systemic throughout the courthouse,” he said, adding that mold can cause health issues, people could be hospitalized and the issue needs to be taken seriously. “(city officials’) idea of solving the problem is changing the ceiling tiles.”
Changing the tiles won’t solve the problem, Fisher explained, saying that by the time the mold had permeated the old tiles, “it’s too late” and that changing the tiles without proper ventilation causes the mold to become airborne. This is an issue of concern given employees were present during the process, one that he has photos of from a private investigator and other individuals inside the courthouse.
“This has been an ongoing issue for quite a while,” continued Fisher who said an unnamed individual provided the ceiling tile that was tested, and he has been in contact with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the Department of Public Safety out of Columbus.
Belinda M. Paschal and Bethany J. Royer may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall