Carpeting and clock cause concern for commissioners

The carpet in one courtroom has changed color.
MERCER, Pa. -- Carpeting and clocks installed as part of the renovation of the courthouse several years ago are giving Mercer County commissioners headaches.
At their chief clerk's meeting Tuesday, they said they are still pushing the manufacturer, Shaw Carpets, to replace carpeting in Courtroom 2. Green portions of the carpet have changed to an orange-brown in several areas of the room, said Director of Administrative Services Bill Boyle.
Commissioner Olivia Lazor said the problems started about two weeks after the carpet was installed and that the company blamed someone spilling coffee in the courtroom. But she pointed out that no food or drinks are allowed in the courtroom.
Commissioner Brian Beader said the company also blamed a cleaning solvent for the problem. He said the county has been going back and forth with the company over the issue for about three years and has tried everything company technicians recommended. Experts from Shaw have looked at the carpet and an attempt to re-dye it was unsuccessful. The color change has not occurred on any other carpeting at the courthouse.
The carpet was installed in 2001 or 2002 and has a ten-year warranty on the pile, Lazor said. The company, however, is arguing that coloration of the pile is not covered in the warranty. Commissioners are also concerned that even if the company agrees to replace the carpet, the county may have to pick up labor costs. In addition, the carpet was glued onto asbestos tile and if this is pulled up, the asbestos may be disturbed and cause additional problems.
Commissioners directed their solicitor, Mark Longietti, to look into the contract to see if a resolution can be reached.
About the clock
They also voiced frustration over sporadic breakdowns of the four-faced clock in the courthouse tower. The $50,000 clock, manufactured by Verdin Clock Co. of Columbus, was out of order for the last three weeks. Since its installation, also during the courthouse renovation, it has had stripped gears and problems with mechanical parts.
Boyle said the company blames wind velocities in the area for the problems. However, Lazor said the same company worked on the previous clock as well as installing many clocks in locations with similar weather to Mercer. Commissioners have a five-year warranty and been successful in having it extended several times.
Also Tuesday, Boyle announced that advertisements will appear in newspapers this week seeking an assistant director of Mercer County Children and Youth Services. Applications are being accepted in the personnel office at the courthouse through the end of the month.
Ten or 12 full- and part-time jobs are also open at the new jail, including corrections officers and clerical workers. Those interested should contact the personnel office at the courthouse at (724) 662-3800.

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