Town Hall to relocate due to health and safety concerns

Town Hall to relocate due to health and safety concerns

SCITUATE - The Scituate Town Council voted to temporarily relocate employees of Town Hall through Nov. 25, following the discovery of mold, asbestos, and additional safety concerns inside 195 Danielson Pike, which will cost more than $300,000 to address.

The Nov. 9, decision comes just one week after it was announced the School Department’s administrative offices, which are located on the second floor of the same building, would be temporarily relocated to Clayville Elementary School, following the discovery of mold.

In September, the Town Council also approved the immediate relocation of Scituate Police Department personnel after a series of environmental tests showed high levels of mold, lead and asbestos in the 100-year-old facility.

While the future of the Scituate police station remains uncertain, the school administrative offices and Town Hall can be salvaged.

"We have some serious problems in Town Hall," Department of Public Works Director Richard Tucker said, "including health issues if we leave our town employees in there."

Among those serious problems: evidence of rodent infestation, evidence of what appears to be white, black, and brown mold, partially blocked chimneys, presence of asbestos, elevated carbon dioxide levels, a leaking roof, and various fire safety hazards.

To address the myriad of health and safety issues, Tucker invoked Rhode Island General Law 37-2-21, which states the "purchasing agent may make or authorize others to make emergency procurements when there exists a threat to public health, welfare, or safety under emergency conditions as defined in the regulations."

Tucker said the situation in Town Hall constituted an emergency and threat to public health.

"We don't have the luxury of going through a long process," Tucker said.

His decision allows the Town Council to use up to $334,000 of fund balance for mold remediation, chimney reconstruction, and additional improvements to the Town Hall and School Department administrative offices.

Mahoney said he was also dismayed to discover that representatives of Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust had alerted former DPW Director Robert Dexter to health concerns in Town Hall and the Scituate Police Station back in 2014.

He questioned why Dexter and council members Brenda Frederickson, David D'Agostino Sr., and Charles Collins Jr. had not acted sooner.

"Not one person mentioned this," Mahoney said.