Employees in prosecutor’s office blame air quality
orkers in the Platte County Prosecutor’s office have raised health concerns that they attribute to the office space and that is prompting a relocation of the prosecutor’s office and staff, county officials said this week.
The prosecutor’s office is located on the third floor of the Platte County Courthouse. Officials say what workers believe is an air quality issue appears to be limited to the third floor of the courthouse.
The prosecutor’s office and staff will be moved to the Platte County Administration Building, which is connected to the courthouse. The prosecutor’s office will be housed on the upper level of the administration in what is normally the county commission meeting room and the county commission office space.
The office space for Dana Babcock, the county’s director of administration, will be moved to the basement level of the administration building.
Meetings of the Platte County Commission will be held in the Platte County Resource Center, a county-owned building located at 11724 NW Plaza Circle, Kansas City, east of I-29 near the airport exit.
Daniel Erickson, whose duties for the county include serving as director of facilities management, said the air quality concerns “have nothing to do with COVID.”
Pressed for a reason why occupants of the third floor believe there is an air quality issue, Erickson responded:
“Health concerns have been raised that they attribute to the office space. I can’t get into the specific details for obvious reasons.”
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd told The Landmark: “We’ve been dealing with an air quality issue that is necessitating the move. It appears to be limited to the third floor of the courthouse.”
Zahnd deferred to Erickson or Platte County Presiding Commissioner Ron Schieber for further information and comment.
Schieber, at the close of Monday’s county commission meeting, said the move is being done “out of an abundance of caution.” He said “this is a temporary situation,” adding that meetings normally held in the administration building will be held at the resource center and that the times and locations of regular county commission work sessions will be posted.
“We anticipate (the work sessions) to be held somewhere in this building (the administration building) or at the resource center during this temporary situation,” Schieber said.
The first two levels of the courthouse, which apparently are not dealing with the issue, are home to judicial clerk offices and circuit courtrooms.
“We hope the relocation is temporary but will likely be at least a few months,” said Erickson, the facilities manager.
“Per the advice of our insurance provider, we have hired an air quality expert to study the issue. The air quality expert has been studying the issue since January. To date we have not definitively identified an air quality issue source but the study continues,” Erickson remarked.
Erickson said that having the prosecutor’s office vacate the space will allow the air quality expert and facility staff better access to the mechanical equipment, which would be difficult to access while the space is occupied.
Erickson said there is no odor or clear sign of moisture/mold present.
“With the employees vacating the office we can take a closer look at the HVAC system and insulation in the attic. Eric (Zahnd) and I have been working with the air quality expert for months and have not found a clear source,” Erickson added.
The prosecutor’s office worked out of the administration building during a prosecutor’s office remodeling project in 2011-12.