Thursday, June 30, 2016
Grand jury finds frequenting Napa County building a pleasure
Napa County has undergone grand jury scrutiny for how well it maintains its many public buildings and come out with high marks.
It would seem that people can enter county buildings without fear of breathing toxic molds or being turned off by dirty carpets. For that matter, they don’t even have to bring a coat on a hot day to deal with an amped-up air conditioner.
“Buildings are attractive and clean and there is little, if any, sign of wear,” the grand jury report said. “Temperatures are comfortable and ventilation is adequate.”
Even restrooms and break areas were spotless when the grand jury did its inspections. The county Administration Building, Carithers building, Hall of Justice and other buildings were in top shape.
The grand jury also wanted to know how the county would handle its buildings in an emergency. The recovery from the August 2014 South Napa earthquake gave it the chance to see the county in action.
Napa County had 100,000 square feet of office space damaged in the quake and relocated more than 400 workers. Yet virtually all departments were operating only two days after the earthquake, the grand jury report said.
Some employees had offices moved to conference rooms, training rooms and rented space. In one case, the county made post-earthquake services readily available by moving workers to a folding table outside on the plaza, the report said.
The county swiftly identified the repairs needed and construction was underway within three months. Except at the heavily damaged historic courthouse and Hall of Justice, work was completed in little over a year.
Not only that, the county smartly used the recovery as an opportunity to perform building upgrades, the grand jury said. For example, it changed heating and air conditioning controls from pneumatic to digital.
The county used quake repairs as an opportunity to upgrade carpets and partitions and complete needed maintenance while buildings were vacant, the report said.
In particular, the grand jury credited county Public Works and Information Technology Services with doing a “masterful job of earthquake recovery.” In its grand jury response, the county Board of Supervisors agreed.
But the grand jury found a few faults. It said a contractor stopped doing regular inspections of the county’s 60 elevators after October 2015.
Maintenance contracts for heating and air conditioning equipment and emergency power generators also expired, the report said. Delays to bid new contracts place the reliable performance of critical systems at risk, it said.
The county response said Public Works in April awarded maintenance contracts for elevators and generators, in May awarded a contract for heating and air conditioning and in August expects to award a contract for fire alarms and sprinklers.
June 30, 2016
Napa Valley Register
By Barry Eberling