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Are New Hanover County employees taking showers on the county dime?

Lydia Coutre

Q. The New Hanover County Government Center has showers. Are county employees showering on the county dime?

A. The showers in Government Center are left over from when the building was repurposed. The former MarketPlace Mall used to house a gym.

Now, there are only a few situations where employees use shower facilities while working, county spokesman Charles Smith wrote in an email.

“We have a number of public safety employees assigned to 24-hour shifts, and others who are expected/encouraged to participate in physical fitness activities based on their job function,” Smith wrote. “Where appropriate, there are shower facilities to support an acceptable work environment.”

He also wrote that “other irregular uses include:

  • Employees who participate in activities through the County’s Wellness and You (WAY) program. …
  • Employees who come into contact with either chemicals or poisonous plants while performing job-related tasks.
  • Activation of our emergency operations center, where employees are required to report and stay to ensure critical functions are staffed.”

Shower facilities are included in the performance targets of the Utility and Sustainability Policy.

“Future modifications and renovations will provide the opportunity to ensure plumbing, electrical and mechanical fixtures are appropriately sized and that they meet ENERGY STAR qualifications, where possible,” Smith wrote.


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