Health unit abandons equipment in move, Middlesex warden wants explanation
LONDON, ONT. -- Middlesex County officials are questioning why so much office furniture, electronics and medical supplies were abandoned by the Middlesex London Health Unit when it recently moved to Citi Plaza.
“I’m shocked,” says Middlesex County Warden Cathy Burghardt-Jesson as she walks inside 50 King St. “We were given assurances by the health unit that they would repurpose much of what they needed, but clearly that is not the case.”
Middlesex County leased the four-floor office building to the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) until this month.
Burghardt-Jesson points to three electronic whiteboards, several executive desks, and a second floor filled with cubicles.
A walk-in safe contains computers and other electronics which are outdated, but a ‘for sale’ sign suggests they are still serviceable.
But the warden’s most pointed questions are about the medical equipment that was abandoned.
Almost two dozen unopened boxes of syringes sit in a closet. There ‘s also a box containing many unopened packages of disinfecting towelettes.
Also, two boxes of disposable ‘bootie-style’ shoe covers, three wheelchairs and a shelf of electronic scales for weighing babies.
“It’s not fair to taxpayers, especially when you consider the crisis we are in right now and you consider the public dollars we are going to have to spend,” says Burghardt-Jesson.
But the MLHU’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie says he worked with county administration, who were notified some things would remain behind.
“(I’m) very proud of the work that staff of the Middlesex London Health Unit have done in the context of a pandemic.”
Mackie says to move 300 employees under the current circumstances was a huge accomplishment, “ What we’ve done is transferred equipment from one taxpayer-owned organization to another taxpayer-owned organization. So any residual value is still in the hands of the taxpayer.”
He also says the dozens of cubicles on the second floor are essentially beyond their useful life, “We did a careful calculation on the cost of moving the cubicles versus the price of purchasing new. It was much cheaper to purchase new.“
Burghardt-Jesson says county staff will start the task of inventorying and repurposing as much equipment as possible.
But she’s still frustrated by the piles of garbage and rotting food left behind, “The garbage in receptacles, on desks, underneath desks, that was very disappointing.”
“This is a building being demolished. There’s no need to make it clean and polished,” explains Mackie.
The Middlesex-London Board of Health will discuss the move to Citi Plaza at its next meeting.