Cold snap emphasizes need for state building repairs

Posted January 7, 2014

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall

— Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has some cold employees. 

The building that houses her office, the Department of Labor and the State Auditor is actually a warren of four different buildings stitched together. One of those buildings lost heat on Monday and was still without Tuesday as temperatures dropped sharply below freezing.

The affected section houses about 25 staffers in Marshall's office, along with roughly 100 staffers in the Department of Labor's Division of Occupational Safety, she said.

"When you have those kinds of buildings, air and temperature is always a problem," she told reporters after the state's top elected leaders met for a Council of State Tuesday.

As she detailed the issue, Gov. Pat McCrory sidled up and joined the conversation. 

"This is an example of some of the huge inefficiencies," McCrory said.

The poor condition of state-owned buildings has been something the governor has been vocal about since taking office a year ago.

"We can't keep the state operating off just putting on Band-Aids," McCrory said.

During the meeting, McCrory had talked about a survey of state government property undertaken by the Department of Administration. Costs for small repairs were mounting so quickly in some areas, he said, that major renovation work might be cheaper.

"We're moving with a sense of urgency, knowing there are a lot of leases out there and even some safety issues," he said. 

He joked that not every state employee was dealing with cold temperatures Tuesday. Outdated and erratic heating systems mean that some parts of buildings get no heat while other offices are broiling. He recalled that the office he used to review the budget last year was one that was frequently very warm.

"We probably have some buildings where the windows are open," he said with a chuckle.

As for Marshall's employees, she said they were still on the job Tuesday, having had long experience with the somewhat whimsical heating systems in their building.

"Everyone has a heater under their desk," she said.


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  • SaveEnergyMan Jan 8, 2014

    The state fire marshal will have something to day about those heaters. They ban them in our building (which doesn't stop some people). It's cold in the summer and can be either cold or hot in the winter - depending on where you are. It's a new bldg. too. So much for controls and commissioning. Love the low bidder!

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jan 7, 2014

    We have no money. Sorry Elaine. Hang in there though, after tomorrow all this nasty, horrible, life threatening cold will be over and you'll need to make sure the AC units are working by the weekend. Elaine.

  • Wilson Andrew Craig, III Jan 7, 2014

    Yeah, because a heater under the desk could not POSSIBLY be a fire hazard. Better not let OSHA find out.

  • Krimson Jan 7, 2014

    Dress warm!

  • tizi Jan 7, 2014

    There are several out bldgs. on DDH grounds that are in good shape and could be retrofitted for use by depts. of the state. It is a waste of taxpayer monies to use out of shape bldgs in town when these are already owned by the state and could be utilized.

  • computer trainer Jan 7, 2014

    Oops, don't tell your support services folks about those heaters!