Public records show drop in county maintenance staff

NOW: Public records show drop in county maintenance staff

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- After heating issues in the winter and a water main break in a county courthouse shut down the entire County-City Building in downtown South Bend last month, ABC57 News requested public records about the maintenance at these facilities.

ABC57 requested the maintenance roster for the County-City Building along with the courthouses downtown, as maintenance is lumped together.

Last year, it listed seven full-time maintenance employees and two building engineers. But this year, it lists just one full-time maintenance employee.

This comes as one county commissioner, Derek Dieter, says the building is "falling apart."

"I want to move out of this building and find another spot, just because the age of the building," Dieter said. "It's not a very good building, it's outlived its use."

ABC57 confirmed both building engineers left their positions.

From the records request, the 2024 maintenance roster lists 13 names, but the county maintenance manager says there are six maintenance personnel and 16 housekeepers.

He couldn't explain the discrepancy with our records directly from the county, and we asked the maintenance manager to send us an updated roster if they have one.

But we also wanted to know why these employees were not listed as "Maintenance Class One" workers, like they were in 2023; most are listed as housekeeping or security personnel.

Maintenance Manager Jonathan Baker explained this to ABC57 as well.

"Basically, they're just doing the monitoring of the systems," Baker said. "If something comes up as far as a flag comes up and says 'hey, this isn't working right. Or this thing isn't going as it should,' they don't do anything physically except make a call, let us know."

Those workers can then dispatch a more qualified maintenance employee, Baker said, or they will book a contractor to make the repairs.

ABC57 is still working to learn why there's a discrepancy in the numbers of employees, and we'll give you an update once we get answers.

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