[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) today released the following statement after the completion of a walk-through of the Rockford Courthouse that was led by representatives from the General Services Administration and the Court. Manzullo participated in today’s tour along with representatives from Durbin’s office.
“The new Rozkowski Courthouse is a beautiful building. Over a hundred local workers did a wonderful job constructing a state of the art facility that will serve the people of Rockford well. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details.
“When this project began, we were told that the federal government could not use a local Illinois contractor, but had to hire a contractor with experience. So, the GSA hired a company from out of state with a questionable record – an inexcusable mistake. Today’s walk-through uncovered some serious aesthetic problems – poor millwork, doors that are too short for the frame, etc. – that need to be fixed before the new Rockford Courthouse can open.
“And now, we’ve learned that the longer the current courthouse is in use, the more expensive it gets for taxpayers. One of the many reasons, the GSA needs to move quickly to expedite the repair process. It’s time we make sure that this courthouse is what it was promised to be: a secure quality facility that makes wise use of taxpayer money.”
Earlier this week, Durbin and Manzullo met with the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), Martha Johnson, to express their concerns over reports that the opening of the Rosz¬kowski Courthouse in Rockford, Illinois will be delayed until mid-September – a nine month delay at a cost to taxpayers – due to the need to address contractor issues and lack of oversight. They both urged Johnson to do everything possible to safely expedite the process while ensuring the highest quality construction.
Durbin and Manzullo succeeded in securing the federal funds necessary to construct the new Rockford courthouse – a total of more than $99 million. The existing Rockford courthouse was built more than 30 years ago. It is filled to capacity and has structural problems that would be prohibitively expensive to repair and impede the efficient functioning of the court. In addition, the lack of a separate prisoner entrance compromises security at the facility.
Durbin is the Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee with funding jurisdiction over the GSA and other federal departments and agencies.