Sweltering Employees & Inmates

Jul 17, 2017

the Rock Island County Justice Center
Credit wvi

Some relief is in sight for Rock Island County employees who've been working without air conditioning in recent weeks. New equipment could be installed as soon as this week to cool the justice center and jail.

Dick Fisher, chair of the county's Public Building Commission,says  the county could not afford replacements because it had already spent the 500,000 dollars for maintenance it receives each year from the commission. But the commission agreed to advance the money to the county, about 170,000 dollars, from next year's maintenance funds.

"It's kind of a win-win situation. We're still using Public Building Commission money destined for maintenance and they get the monkey off their backs and get this fixed because it's getting to be very dire down there."

The problem has affected about 180 inmates of the Rock Island County Jail, and about 100 county employees who work in the jail and justice center. 

Fisher says the hot working conditions have been due to two chillers installed more than 20 years ago. One has failed, and the other, in his words, is "on life support."