You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor to pay $66K to clean up moldy police property in city hall after February flooding

By Ryan J. Stanton

Work to clean up mold in the basement of Ann Arbor's city hall and on police property items will begin following action taken by the City Council Monday night.

Council members voted 11-0 to approve a $66,400 contract with Protech Environmental Services for the cleaning and decontamination of the Ann Arbor Police Department property rooms and storage trailers, as well as all items contained inside them.

According to a memo from Officer Rebecca Provancher, the cleaning and decontamination will consist of three property rooms, the training room in the basement of city hall, plus the contents of three property trailers located in the city hall garage.


The stairs to the basement of Ann Arbor's city hall.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The cleaning is necessary due to water damage caused when the city hall basement flooded on Feb. 16. Some of the property needs to be repackaged due to active mold growth, while other items need only to be wiped down and re-shelved, Provancher said.

"Most of the property was out in the old garage and there was a water pipe break in February that pretty much flooded everything that was in there," explained Deputy Chief Greg Bazick, who attended Monday's meeting.

"So we had to relocate it so construction could continue. It's been in the basement of city hall, contained in a couple of the property rooms, and then we also have a couple of shipping containers out in the city hall garage — or old garage as we call it."

Bazick said the police department has been working in consultation with the prosecutor's office to dispose of any property that it can.

"I'm pretty sure that everything that is in the basement now — or for the most part — it was out there in that garage, so it got wet, mold grew on it," he said. "I saw some of it, though. What we still have down there is not terribly bad. It still needs to have mold remediation."

The cost of the cleanup will be paid for from the police general fund, but the department plans to seek reimbursement from the city's risk management fund.

Ann Arbor police officers and the union that represents them have had longstanding concerns about elevated levels of mold, radon and asbestos in the basement of city hall where they worked for many years. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation of city hall and construction of a new police headquarters next door, the basement is now equipped with new evidence rooms, police lockers and conference space, but the health concerns remain.

A representative of the police officers union told recently that the basement remains a mess eight months after the flooding, with suspected mold present on ceiling tiles and water stains on carpeting in the conference space.


Jamie Adkins

Jamie Adkins, the union's vice president of bargaining, said when a property officer complained several weeks ago about water dripping from the ceiling near the east end of the building, she was told by city officials that the pipes were just sweating. But a week later, Adkins said, maintenance pulled the ceiling tiles down to reveal mold growing on them.

Adkins argued the cleanup of the property rooms should have been done months ago. She added the contract council approved Monday night does nothing to address any other problems the basement has experienced.

Adkins said the union has filed a grievance against the city asking for medical monitoring of its members due to the building conditions. She said the grievance has been denied at the city administration level and the union is prepared to take the issue to arbitration.

The union still is requesting to conduct its own testing of conditions in the basement prior to moving police officers into the locker rooms. For now, police are using space at the Wheeler Service Center in Pittsfield Township to get dressed before and after work.

Bazick said he expects the police to be using the lockers inside the renovated basement of city hall by about Jan. 1.

"My understanding is that we're waiting for this mold remediation project to be completed, so that the last air quality testings can be done, so everybody's comfortable with the fact that any mold that was on that property that may have left residue behind has been cleaned up."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


Kai Petainen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

If money from the water fund is used for water artwork, then money from the water fund should be available to fix damage from water.

Truth About Mold

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Mold can cause serious health problems. For accurate information about the health effects of mold, go to <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

Mold is everywhere in nature. Just add water and you'll see. So, are you going to regulate the weather? regulate whether your house springs a leak or you building? Maybe we should go on a mission to hunt down mold and kill all of it on the planet. No expense should be spared of course. Come up with some kind of tax or punitive fee structure that can be paid by builders or some corporation and then go for it. Let's have our legislators spend time on this instead of writing a budget and spending our tax dollars responsibly. Is this for real????????

say it plain

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

Please please please Ann Arbor! Let's vote out this mayor already! He doesn't even care about the people living in the same building as he does, isn't it galling already?! Money sitting in buckets getting moldy instead of being used to fix our streets... Money spent on rain water sculptures outside instead of being used to fix building problems that have last for *years* and endangered the health and wellbeing of the city's own employees just beyond the doors... Let's stop letting ourselves be led to believe that somehow the city would fall apart if the Hieftje folks finally left the building! Get rid of the Hieftje cronies on council too, like Rapandulo...


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Money sitting in buckets.......?????

Christy Summerfield

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

I want to know why the city isn't cleaning my basement which floods every time the rain gets beyond a spit. They came to clean up the second time it flooded, 11 years ago. I don't even bother cleaning anymore because what's the use? There are neighborhoods all over the city that flood and the city is responsible for it happening. I can't be concerned about the effect of mold on employees who aren't even spending their days in that basement. I live here. I'm here pretty much all day every day.

say it plain

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

The city spends its money on attorneys instead, to make sure you clearly understand that whatever flooding problem you have is *yours* ;-) You'd better just go out and spend the money on a dry-basement system...i know, i know, the city won't give you a break on your property taxes, or lower your now-higher water rates that they skim a percent-for-art from, but I'd bet the realtors in office could refer you to a reliable basement drying system business ;-)


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

In this case, I have to side with the city's critics. It's a MYSTERY that government in this city is so clueless about maintaining what are supposed to be cutting edge elements of our city services (and therefore, maintaining conditions for AA employees). If we are &quot;so great&quot; and want to show the world this shining image of Ann Arbor, then it makes sense to attend to &quot;infrastructure&quot; and employee health consistently at every level. That we have a police force &quot;borrowing&quot; locker space from a neighboring township is itself a disgrace. This undermines our police officers and their support staff. RIDICULOUS! It's as if Ann Arbor's leaders have adopted the Republican Plan: neglect and reduce government services to &quot;wean&quot; citizens of the &quot;notion&quot; that we need government at all. Instead, have &quot;private enterprise&quot; take over with NO regard for employees at all and NO regard for anything else that's not profit making. Just find out who's responsible for THIS abomination - then fire them or get a recall election going.

Stan Hyne

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

As I recall all the parties involved are Democrats.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Eight months to find the funding for this, but an almost immediate response of $25K for the homeless shelter. How ironic that when Washtenaw County ends funding next year for the Delonis Center, the police officers will be rounding up the homeless from downtown alley's and streets so they won't become a nuisance for downtown patrons and eyesores for council and mayor. Maybe they can throw buckets of water on them and wait eight months for them to scatter.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

It is totally disgusting that anyone should have to work in an unsafe environment. One would think that city officials would be totally ashamed of themselves.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

Be it dioxane, unsolved oil in the Huron River, or even mold at the Police Department (public safety)... Environmental Health should not be an after-thought in such an enviro-friendly city as Ann Arbor. I'm glad this is being done, but it should have been fixed long ago.

Karen Sidney

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

I've been following this issue and there are several unanswered questions Why was the RFP for this clean-up not listed on the city's website? I had to go to the state website to find it. Was it because the city was trying to hide the problem? I also heard there was a prior RFP for the cleanup but the city went back for more bids because they hoped for a better price. Was quality cut to get the lower price? What is the status of the claim against Clark Construction for the damage caused by the broken pipe? Will Ann Arbor taxpayers have to pick up the bill to fix this mess? If the city has to foot the bill, where will they find the money? Will this mean even more cuts to police and fire, whose staff have already been cut more deeply than other general fund departments?

Bert Barnes

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:10 p.m.

This is not difficult, I don't get what the problem is! You can't wait 8 months to fix this, or you will have a $66,000 mold job instead! You call a local company like Michigan Power Rodding who will come in and fix the problem as well as take care of the water, and you save the taxpayers over $60,000. I know they have a contract with the city, because I've seen them at the Ann Arbor schools and UofM plenty. Who dropped the ball on this??


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

8 months? The public has heard (read) about the complaints of the officers working conditions for several years and then you wait 8 months to deal with mold? Do you know how much mold can grow in 8 months? Mold never dies. It just dries out and waits dormant to be rehydrated so that it can grow more. In eight months it could have spored so many times and gotten into the air system. If my house flooded I would have started cleaning right away. additionally, if the drop ceilings keep hiding drips where mold then grows get rid of the drop ceilings. Paint the ceilings and add more lights, that additional height to the room gives the feeling of more space. (the lighting is actually better). Drips would be noticed faster and you aren't giving mold the area to grow, also above the drop ceiling air doesn't circulate as much. The open ceiling look, pipes and all is acutally popular now. Drop Ceilings are so dated.

Patricia Lesko

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

Glad to read this is being done. Photos and information leaked to in September of the basement, complete with the mold, resulted in a feature piece about the fact that the officers were being forced to waste an hour per day driving to the Wheeler Center (which is in Pittsfield) to dress for work. The Hieftje administration spent a long time telling voters one of the main reasons we needed a new city hall was because of the terrible conditions for the officers (their locker rooms). Chief Jones told the paper he was ashamed of the conditions his officers had to work in. Then, it took eight months for these guys to fix the flood damage. In February, city officials claimed only an inch of water covered the floors. If you'd like to see the photos of the space and the evidence that water was waist deep and penetrated the drywall, feel free to visit the link: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

Patricia. Excellent work. It's nice to see that someone has the guts to look into this sort of stuff.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

This is the same basement that has high levels of poisonous radon gas, right? Can't be too surprised no one wants to in there. Time to convert it into a holding cell aka. dungeon?


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

The city can sell THAT ART object outside to help pay for the clean up . What a piece of crap that the upper mucky mucks allow this. Move their offices to the basement.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:38 a.m.

Maybe someone can call the local media, like the Channels 2, 4 and 7 to do some investigative reporting?

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:37 a.m.

More incompetent mismanagement and insult to the City of Ann Arbor Police employees. Why did the Mayor and city staff allow this kind of safety issue to continue for MONTHS? Too busy with other priorities, as usual.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:25 a.m.

It says a lot that EIGHT MONTHS have passed since this happened. If my basement flooded, I'd have a firm there the next day.