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THE EiUPERIER GEURT

EASiTERN TJUDICIAL GIRtrUtT


203 tHAIH X COUXW COURTHOUSE
IC3 MONTSOMERY STREE?
EAVANNAH, EEORG|TA 3 I 40 l -3239
EHAMEERI OF (912'
TELEPHIfNE 652.? 162
.JUOGiE LOUISA, AEIE]OT
FA.x (9 I 2' 652-?t 64
June 20, 2017

Honorable Albert J. Scott. Chairman of the Board of Chatham County Commissioners


Members, Chatham County Commissioners
124 Bull Street
Suite 200
Savannah, Georgia 3 140 1

Re: Conditions in J. Tom Coleman Courthouse

Dear Commission Chairman Scott and Commissioners:

Please give your thoughtful attention to the two issues cliscussed below.

i. HVAC in J. Tom Coleman Judicial Building


Attached you will find a letter signed by a panel ofjurors who recently had jury
duty and endured
miserable conditions. I asked them to sign such a letter because jurors and members
of the
public have had to suffer dramatic temperature shifts for months. The 2nd floor
is icy; the 4,h
floor is broiling. The new first floor courtroom is inoperable due to HVAC problems.
To no
avail,judges have conveyed our growing dismay aboit the temperatures. Judge Fowler
had to
end a trial and send the jurors home because it was too cold in tlie courtroom
t-o try the case.

The employees of the Maintenance Department, especially Jack Ingram and


Solomon Roberts,
have been unfailingly attentive but have repeatedlysaid that it is an equipment
problem which
the contractor has been unable to correct. if that is the case. perhaps another
company should be
awarded the maintenance contract.

When the temperature dropped to 60 degrees in CouftroomZ-Aon June


7,r'(after a high of 65
degrees the day before), my frustration led me to contact Assistant
County Attorney Bums, not
knowing who else to cali, given the chronic unresponsiveness of ,nanagement.
An employee
named Anthony Stephens (uncertain of surname),with whom I was unfamiliar,
informed me that
all he had to do was to "unlock" the thermostats which had previously been
locked so that no one
could alter the temperature.

This was shocking news. If the answer were that simple, then why have we
had to make repeated
complaints about the temperatures? If it is that simple, why now is the system
not operating on
two floors, according to an email on June 19il' from Caroline Foster
email to which Chief
Judge Karpf responded with questions and has yet to receive a reply?
Why were the thermostats
ever locked anpvay? To have jurors, litigants and employees endure such discomfort for months
when all that was needed was to unlock the thermostats shows something is seriously amiss, not
only the temperature but also the utter lack of communication.

II. Restroom in Staff Attorneys' Office Suite

It is embarrassing to have to write this letter to you but we have no recourse. For several years
the toilet in the Staff Attorney restroom has been overflowing and causing flooding, soaking
caq)ets, causing noxious orders and making the work conditions intolerable. Staff attorneys have
been sickened by the chemicals used futilely to try to disinfect the area. One attorney had to have
foot surgery after walking through the infected water. Photographs which portray the flooding
are attached.

Judge'Morse met with Anthony Stephens approximately two weeks ago and explained the
seriousness of the health risk and the inconvenience. The plumber who was then summoned for
repair reported that the iron pipes were extremely corroded and needed to be replaced to correct
this intolerable situation. Despite Mr. Stephens' promise to repoft to Judge Morse, Judge Morse
has not yet heard from him. Nearly two weeks have now passed with the usual lack of any
communication.

The toilet continues to overflow, frequently spontaneously, belying the blame placed on the staff
attomeys by maintenance. The very occasional shampoo of the carpet is not a fix for this
problem. The alternate restroom in the hallway has the same problem so the staff have no other
options.

In conclusion, surely such conditions would not be allowed to exist in your offices. The judges
on behalf ofjurors, employees and all other users of this building of this county building
-demand that you make the health and comfort of the public and your employees an urgent -
priority.

Sincerely yours.

/^.,;&Ufe
Louisa Abbot

cc: Superior and State Courtjudges


Court Administrators
Staff Attorneys
Assistant County Attorney
County Manager
Savannah Mornins News
THE giUPERIER trT]URT
EASiTERN JUDICIAL CIRGUIT
2O3 CHATHAM COUNW COUITHOUBE
I33 MONTSOMERY STREEY
savaNNAH. GiEORG|tA 3 r 4Cl l -3239

CHAM'ERt OF
June 8,2017 TELEFHONE t9 1 Zl 6A2-.' 1 62
.JUOGE LOUISIA AEBclT FAX (9 I Z' 6=2-7 7 64

Honorable Albert J. Scott, Chairman of the Board of Chatham Counry Commissioners


Chatham County Commissioners
124 Bull Street
Suite 200
Savannah, Georgia 3 1401

Re: Conditions in J. Tom Coleman Courthouse durine Jurv Service

Dear Chairman Scott and Chatham County Commissioners:

We, the undersigned jurors, served during the week of June 5th in a felony criminal involving rape
and kidnapping along with other heinous crimes. The courtroom, Courfroom 2-A, was unbearably
cold for much of the week. At one point, the temperature was 60 degrees and it rarely grew much
warrner. The judge and the deputy sheriff told us this situation was a chronic problem and had been
reported many times. They made numerous efforts to have the temperature adjusted and they said
that the maintenance staff was doing its best but due to mechanical issues could only do so much.
The judge apologizeci to us about her helplessness to make the courtroom a comfortable temperature.
Many of us wore coats but were still cold.

The inability of the County to have an operating, functional air conditioning system made our jury
service in a most serious case all the more difficult. It is a disservice to citizens who have jury
service, to the court staffanci other court personnel and to all others who have to come to the J. Tom
Coleman building.

We call upon you as the elected leaders of our County to investigate this matter and to treat it as
urgent to find a lasting solution immediately so that other citizens are not subject to adverse
conditions while serving as jurors

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