Minor Courthouse Repairs Costing State Hundreds

High Costs May Be Due To Labor Costs Of $75 To $100 Per Hour

10News learned the state of California is paying hundreds of dollars for basic maintenance repairs performed inside local courthouses.

In the Chula Vista courthouse, it cost $378 to replace a light bulb above a judge's chair. In San Diego's downtown courthouse, it cost about $480 to set rat traps inside an office.

At the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego, it cost more than $480 to fix squeaky chairs. However, when 10News visited the courthouse the chairs still squeaked.

According to court administrators, fixing a slow clock in San Diego's juvenile court involved "removing and replacing the clock battery and adjusting the clock to the proper time" and cost $467.

To replace a missing door stopper, state officials said, "Part of the total cost...included time to locate and purchase materials." Those repairs cost $119.

The state said it cost $460 for two technicians to hang a state seal over a judge's chair in Chula Vista.

Local contractor Ron Wells, who has previously worked on state contracts before, said the high cost of repairs could be related to labor costs which are between $75 and $100 per hour.

The state uses two independent contractors -- one for northern and one for southern California -- to coordinate maintenance work. If something breaks, state workers call the contractor and the contractor hires someone else to do the work but not before they add 20 to 30 percent onto every job.

"It's an outrage," said San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

In August, Fletcher sat on a committee that questioned court administrators about their spending.

"They're out of touch. There is no possible way you can explain to any small business owner [or] to any working family why you're spending $300 to change a light bulb [or] $400 to replace a basic functioning clock," said Fletcher. "Before you're going to cut someone's school, we're going to cut the agency that's spending $400 dollars on a clock."

Print this article Back to Top