Nepotism, poor management of Building Maintenance Department cost taxpayers $30K for Forensic Office mold remediation

Montgomery County Forensics Office, 205 Hilbig Road, Conroe.

Conroe, June 7 – Thanks to the nepotism and poor management for which lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and former Building Maintenance Department Director Paul Case are responsible, Montgomery County taxpayers are suffering approximately $30,000 in mold removal and remediation expenses at the Montgomery County Forensics Office, 205 Hilbig Road, Conroe. On May 22, 2018, the Commissioners Court voted 3 to 0 to pay two firms to do repairs and clean the Forensics Office, particularly in the attic area, for the removal and remediation work.

But what caused mold to get into the attic of a metal building? In this instance, nepotism and poor management. Here’s why (thanks to information which three individuals who presently work for the County government have provided on the condition of anonymity).

In August, 2015, the Building Maintenance Department, then under the direction of Paul Case, needed to install an air conditioner in the attic space of the Forensics Office. Consistent with the nepotism which Doyal has encouraged in the Montgomery County government, Case hired his son, Craig Case, as an employee in the Building Maintenance Department to work for him. Craig has training as a welder but not much more. He needed a job so his pop hired him at his current rate of pay of $91,706.77. Since it would look bad for Craig to work directly for his father, Doyal and Paul Case set up the sham that Craig works as an employee in the County Engineer’s Office. As this newspaper has reported previously, however, Craig’s business card shows the address of the Building Maintenance Department as his place of work.

Craig Case’s County Business Card with Building Maintenance Department address.

Craig’s business card lists him as “HVAC/Controls Manager.” Unfortunately for the taxpayers, Craig is not licensed as an HVAC technician and has little background in the field. His relationship with his father and his father’s relationship with Doyal apparently qualified Craig to be an “HVAC/Controls Manager.” (Perhaps, that is the next line of work for Stephanne Davenport.)

Since Craig didn’t know how to install an air-conditioning system properly, he merely placed the air conditioner up in the attic of the Forensics Building without proper ventilation. Several of the employees in the Building Maintenance Department warned Craig that he needed to install a robust ventilation system in the attic area or else the air conditioning unit would create condensation immediately that had no place to go.

When HVAC equipment is placed in an area without adequate ventilation, the insulation would become wet and covered with mold within a few weeks, if not days.

Craig had substantial problems with the air conditioning system installation. Some employees suggested to Craig that he had used the wrong wiring and tubing for the system. While the improper wiring has not yet affected the air conditioner’s functioning, it could easily short out and burn the inside of the Forensics Office down.

The mold accumulated for three years before Craig’s father Paul Case began to address the problem. By May 4, 2015, when the County government had a mold assessment done in the Forensics Office, the spore count in the tech room had increased to 912,000 spores per cubic meter (in comparison to 1,310 spores per cubic meter outside). None of the mold identified in the report is toxic, according to a 2015 study of the United States Centers for Disease Control.

The mold stinks, however, which is not a very good condition for a building that already has cadavers in it. The smell often made the Forensics Office difficult to bear.

While it’s nice that Doyal and Paul Case (who has since retired) care about Case’s son, Craig, it would also be nice if they’d act as stewards of the taxpayers once in a while.

Two of The Golden Hammer‘s sources have confirmed that the Forensics Office is not the only County building where Craig Case supervised an improper HVAC installation that lacked sufficient ventilation to remove the condensate from the newly-conditioned area.

As long as family relationships trump public service, the taxpayers of Montgomery County are in for an expensive ride thanks to the terribly-managed Building Maintenance Department.

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