The recent Board of Supervisors meeting on the county’s facilities was both enlightening and depressing. The fact that Teri Daly put Russ Fackrell, an accountant with no facilities experience, in charge of the county’s facilities nearly three years ago explains why for nearly three years the county’s buildings have been crumbling from a lack of maintenance.
Anyone with experience knows that once you let building maintenance slide, the deferred maintenance accelerates and the rapid deterioration becomes much more costly to repair. Mr. Fackrell doesn’t know how to do the job, so he tries to get others to do his job for him. Mr. Fackrell, a CPA having no prior facilities management, leasing or commercial construction experience, has to rely on what others tell him to do his job, therefore he has had to hire many expensive consultants such as Scott Kingston, a realtor who has made $316,000 in commissions in a little over a year off renewing the county’s leases — the county never paid real estate commissions before.
A year ago he hired Vanir, Inc. for $87,533 to go out and take a bunch of pretty pictures of the county’s aging buildings — something his own staff could have done. It was embarrassing last Tuesday when it was pointed out that Mr. Fackrell’s consultant left out the county museum from its expensive report. The building is just down the hill from the Government Center. Apparently Mr. Fackrell didn’t even know this was a county building, even though it’s less than half a mile from his office.
The Board of Supervisors could take notice of the fairgrounds buildings that are much older, but well maintained because it has had a skilled and experienced maintenance department that has gotten the job done on a shoe string budget for several decades.
It is apparent that Mr. Fackrell is not only void of experience, but there appears to be a lack of a “can do” mentality and he instead relies on expensive consultants and contractors to solve the county’s problems, as he lacks the skill and knowledge on how to fix and correct deferred maintenance economically with in-house staff. There also appears to be both a lack of short- and long-term planning and a lack of a master facilities plan.
Mr. Fackrell has been accused of finding expensive solutions to problems such as paying well into the six figures to repave 10 parking stalls in front of Building C for wheelchair compliance. Now on Tuesday he wants the board to approve the purchase of a $500,000.00 software package to track a few county building construction projects. Will this software acquisition dovetail in with the poor $5.6 million decision the county is making on a questionable ERP software package that doesn’t meet the county’s needs and was supposed to do everything under the sun? Perhaps he needs to invest in some autopilot software.