First one thing and then another; problems continue to plague the Municipal Building

Rachel Baldwin rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

January 16, 2014

Rachel Baldwin


WILLIAMSON - The employees who work in the Mingo County Municipal Building (Annex Building) have suffered their share of hardships and inconveniences within the past few months, and an event that played out on Tuesday suggests their woes are not behind them.

The Municipal Building houses the Williamson Library, the Mingo County Health Department and the offices of the three magistrates. The elevator that accommodates those who are visiting these offices, as well as employees, was out of service for a period of 19 weeks before it was operable again, as major upgrades and improvements had to be completed. Within days of the elevator being repaired, the heat went out in the building that was originally built in 1919, with pipes that support the boiler installed in 1965.

Portable heaters had to be brought in to allow work to continue in the offices affected by the cold temperatures that blanketed the county for a few days, with nighttime lows in the single digits. One heater began smoking and the fire department was called to investigate. Magistrate Court had to be conducted in the Mingo County Commission Courtroom on a couple of occasions, due to the temperatures on the third floor being so uncomfortable stage. Health department personnel were working in their coats and gloves.

Mingo County Commission President Greg “Hootie” Smith met with the magistrates and their staff on Friday to let them know workers would be in place over the weekend to install the part that was needed to repair the heat. The part that was broken is no longer available, due to the age of the furnace and pipes, and had to be fabricated. This, of course, was not an easy task and the delivery took approximately a week. When the county employees arrived for work at the beginning of this week, the building was warm once again.

Tuesday, the problems plaguing the building took another turn for the worse, as four health department employees found themselves stuck inside the elevator after getting on it from the second floor with intentions of leaving work for the day, and remained trapped inside for approximately 20 minutes until the door could be pried open wide enough for the women to get out.

“We were getting out the door of the elevator as the Williamson firefighters were coming in the building,” said Barbara Moore. “We had been having small issues with the elevator throughout the day, but nothing to this extent. Thankfully we got out when we did.”

Terry Sanders, Magistrate Court clerk, told the Daily News that two days after the elevator was operable again, it threw a breaker.

“It was a fairly quick fix and didn’t take long to repair, but nonetheless, it occurred,” Sanders said.

This time around, however; there has been no date given as to when the elevator will be back in operation.