Department of General Services Says BOE Building Is Not So Bad

Over the past 15 years, the downtown Sacramento building in which the State Board of Equalization is headquartered has suffered falling windows, toxic mold, faulty elevators, water damage, broken sewage pipes, a bat infestation and other maladies. But in a new report, the Department of General Services says the building is not so bad.

Of 29 state buildings reviewed (as required by legislation passed last year to assess the state of state-owned structures), the BOE building ranked 16th worst, the Department of General Services said.

A factor in the ranking apparently was the fact that good money was thrown after bad, as the report noted that the building has received tens of millions of dollars’ worth of “improvements” in recent years.

Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the department, said: “There may be some evidence that this building is in better condition than its press clippings would lead you to believe.”

Ranking number one on the “worst state buildings” list was the State Resources Building at 1416 Ninth Street in Sacramento. The State Personnel Department building at 901 Capitol Mall and the Department of Water Resources building at 901 P Street ranked second and third, respectively.

BOE Chairman Jerome Horton said: “The health and safety of our employees and the public should be the state's number one concern. The fact that we have so many buildings exposing people to asbestos, fire hazards, mold, and falling windows is something the state clearly needs to address.”

BOE Vice Chair George Runner said he does not agree with the rankings. “I am not aware of another building that has temporary scaffolding around it to protect employees and pedestrians as they walk down the sidewalk,” he said.

(CalTax: Some have suggested the obvious solution to the problem would be to move the Department of General Services into the BOE’s headquarters, and move the BOE to a new campus.)

The Department of General Services’ website is not up-to-date, as this report could not be found as of July 6, and the most recent press release on the site is more than a month old. (Sources: The Sacramento Bee, July 3; BOE news release, July 3; CalTaxletter files.)

July 16, 2015

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