The State Worker

Delayed work at state money pit reset for Saturday

The Board of Equalization building is seen in Sacramento on June 12, 2014. The Board of Equalization headquarters has become California's unofficial state money pit, a tower of terror with a litany of defects that include exterior glass panels that fall without warning and leaky windows and corroded toilet waste pipes and toxic mold.
The Board of Equalization building is seen in Sacramento on June 12, 2014. The Board of Equalization headquarters has become California's unofficial state money pit, a tower of terror with a litany of defects that include exterior glass panels that fall without warning and leaky windows and corroded toilet waste pipes and toxic mold. bnguyen@sacbee.com

Let’s try this again.

Work on the Board of Equalization headquarters’ scaffolding, an ever-present eyesore that has come to symbolize the tower’s long-running troubles, is planned for Saturday after a scheduling snafu forced a two-week delay.

An internal memo from board Deputy Director Edna Murphy says that a crew will weld corners of the scaffolding currently held together with clamps. The work was supposed to be done on May 16, but officials realized the day before that a civil-service test was scheduled for the same day in the building’s cafeteria. They put off the project to avoid distracting job seekers taking the exam.

Saturday’s work is supposed to start at around 6 a.m. It will not impede employees’ access to the 24-story tower.

“Once all work is complete, (the state) and its contractors will perform an inspection,” Murphy’s Thursday memo states, “to assure all work is consistent with construction standards.”

The scaffolding – Murphy’s memo refers it as a “covered walkway” – has been in place since early 2012 after a glass panel that popped off the building’s exterior, fell eight floors and narrowly missed a passerby on the sidewalk below. Since then, the metal-and-wood canopy has become the most visible testament to the many defects that have plagued 450 N St. since it opened for business in 1993, from bursting pipes and rain water leaks to toxic mold and faulty elevators.

Taxpayers have spent more than $60 million on repairs to date on the state-owned structure. More repairs are needed, including the replacement of hundreds of exterior glass panels like the one that fell. Crumbling drain pipes throughout the building also need to be replaced because they were incorrectly installed during construction.

An employee lawsuit is pending that contends the agency’s leadership knew the building’s many problems made it a health hazard but kept that information from the 2,200 people who work in it.

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