Roderick Ireland Courthouse reopens amid continued mold concerns | News

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Hampden County Hall of Justice generic 040219

Western Mass News photo


SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Thursday is the first day in two weeks that the Roderick Ireland Courthouse was open to the public. The Massachusetts Trial Court ordered a cleaning of the building over the weekend and a report was released that said three areas are not acceptable.

Miles away in Worcester Superior Court, there was a hearing to try and get the courthouse shut down again.

Our cameras went in several different parts of the courthouse. The stamp of approval from Massachusetts Trial Court to reopen was questioned by employees when they stepped inside their offices this morning and found unclean conditions.

Though a sanitized smell hits you when you walk into the lobby of Roderick Ireland Courthouse, a large dehumidifier is draining into a bucket off to the side. It’s more convenient than upstairs on third floor where the dehumidifier drains down the hall into a toilet in a multi-stall bathroom that’s supposed to be open for Superior Court employees to use.

Hampden County Clerk of Courts Laura Gentile told Western Mass News this wasn’t how she envisioned getting back to business after the building was closed for two weeks due to mold.

“I cannot conduct business in this way,” Gentile explained.

[Reporter: So you’re back one day and you’re thinking that you might want to start sending staff home already?]

“I’m not going to make people sit in a room where they’re getting lightheaded,” Gentile added.

Hampden Register of Probate Rosemary Saccomani told her employees that working in-person was optional for people who felt comfortable entering the building.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — The Roderick Ireland Courthouse in downtown Springfield will be back open on Thursday.

“Out of 35 staff, there’s roughly six staff members that elected voluntarily to come in,” Saccomani said.

[Reporter: Do you feel like it’s fully clean?]

“No,” Saccomani noted.

In Worcester Superior Court on Thursday, a hearing was set for September 20 on the class-action lawsuit filed by the Hampden County Register of Deeds Cheryl Coakley-Rivera against Massachusetts Trial Court officials. Immediately afterward, a temporary restraining order was heard by the judge in an attempt to close the building again. That’s something Assistant Attorney General Julie Green, representing the Trial Court, tried to fight.

“There isn’t a sufficient showing here to warrant the extraordinary relief of closing down an entire courthouse for an entire county,” Green said.

Meantime, the sound of the solution to the short-term mold problem is drowning out the workers’ attempts to do their jobs.

“I respect the Trial Court. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t lie. Today is disappointing,” Gentile said.

[Reporter: How much longer can you give them the benefit of the doubt?]

“I don’t know,” Gentile added.

The judge in Worcester said he would take the temporary restraining order under advisement and issue a ruling.





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