Montgomery County government’s unqualified HVAC/Controls Manager installs oversized HVAC in Emergency Operations Center

Conroe, July 27 – Craig Case, the nepotistic HVAC/Controls Manager for Montgomery County’s Building Maintenance Department, easily one of the worst County Departments, has struck again. This time, Case, who is unlicensed to do HVAC installations but has training as a welder, has installed an 8 ton HVAC unit in the Montgomery County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in place of a 3-ton HVAC unit he just took out of the one-story building where the Montgomery County Emergency Management Department works.Case got his job as Montgomery County’s HVAC/Controls Manager, because his father, Paul Case was the Director of the Building Maintenance Department. Case worked directly under his father’s supervision until Paul Case recently retired as a County government employee.Case’s installation of the oversized HVAC unit has already created numerous problems in the EOC and will likely cause many others, according to two County employees who spoke with The Golden Hammer on the condition of anonymity and to one HVAC expert who also works with the County government as an outside vendor and has been critical of the EOC installation. First, by installing an oversized unit, the HVAC system will likely create moisture accumulation and eventually cause the growth of mold in the ceiling areas of the EOC. Second, that moisture will likely damage the information technology equipment, particularly since the HVAC unit is in the server room of the EOC. Third, the oversized system has already created major electrical and wiring problems in the building, which will cost County taxpayers substantially, in order to accommodate the extra-large HVAC system.

Another problem arose two days ago during the installation. Since Case is untrained in HVAC installations, he injured his hand severely and now claims that he has nerve damage for which he has told the Human Resources, Risk Management, and Building Maintenance Departments that he intends to make a workers compensation claim.

This installation is far from Case’s first problematic HVAC installation. Case oversaw the oversize unit installation at the Ed Chance Annex in south Montgomery County where the building rapidly developed a mold problem. Case also oversaw the installation of the HVAC system in the Montgomery County Forensics Office where he failed to ensure that there was proper air flow in the attic space where he and his father installed another oversize system.

Since Craig Case 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 Case 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 Case’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.

Craig Case 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, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Paul Case set up the sham that Craig worked as an employee in the County Engineer’s Office. As this newspaper has reported previously, however, Craig’s business card showed the address of the Building Maintenance Department as his place of work.

On July 10, 2018, the Commissioners Court formally transferred Case’s employment to the department where has has always worked: Building Maintenance.

Case, the HVAC/Controls Manager of the Montgomery County Building Maintenance Department, who does not have a license to do HVAC work in the State of Texas (or anywhere else), has continued to enjoy his $91,706.77 County salary (plus annual benefits of approximately $36,957.83)

When large scale events or disasters occur, the Montgomery County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) functions as a central point where government officials and local agencies exercise direction and control as well as coordinating necessary resources. Montgomery County citizens should hope and pray that Case’s faulty HVAC installation will not blow out the entire electrical system of the EOC during a disaster.

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