County employees express concern over courthouse conditions

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - With the opening of the new Broward County Courthouse already over a year late, county employees are running out of patience.

For years, the Broward County Courthouse has been plagued by flooding, asbestos and even mold. Those problems were part of the reason for the construction of the new courthouse, and employees told county commissioners on Tuesday that they’re tired of waiting to move into it.

“My desk mate has cancer,” Jackie Gobin, a court clerk, said. “The girl behind me, 30 years old, came down with cancer, died six weeks later.”

RELATED: Mold delays opening of new Broward County courthouse

“Forget about us, as judges, the judges are suffering, forget about the state attorney’s office,” Judge Jeffrey Levenson said. “What about the jurors?”

Another employee said she would stop going into her office soon out of fear for her health.

“I really don’t think it’s fair,” she said. “I mean, another 30 days, I will not go into my office and work there.”

But the new Broward Courthouse already has its own issues. Water intrusion, mold, finicky air conditioning and other construction-related problems have delayed its opening.

County Commissioner Lois Wexler called the courthouse problems an embarrassment for the county.

“It’s embarrassing. There is no excuse, and we need to say there is no excuse,” Wexler said.

Public Works officials said hearing these problems from employees makes them more urgent.

“Of course, and we’re doing everything we can to accelerate our acceptance of the building,” Steve Hammond of Broward Public Works said.

Gobin said she’s scared she’ll be the next one to have a major health issue.

“We’re scared,” Gobin said. “We’re afraid if you get a pain and you have to go the doctor, am I the next one to be diagnosed with cancer? Am I the next one to die?”

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