ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - County employees said they're literally too burned out to do their jobs.
Temperatures and tensions are so high in a county building in downtown Albuquerque, employees told KRQE News 13 they're fed up.
The air conditioning system went down about a month ago. Since then, the six-story Bernalillo County Public Safety Center building has essentially become a hot box.
County officials said they're working on it, but employees said the heat is just too much. County workers there are sweating.
Portable coolers and fans are set up inside the building in an attempt to beat the heat.
"It's been up to three digits; it's been up to 102 degrees," said one employee who wanted to remain anonymous. "And the higher up you go, the hotter it is."
None of the employees that spoke with KRQE News 13 wanted to be identified but said the air conditioning has been out in the six-story building for about a month.
"The sixth floor yesterday let all of their people go because it was too hot," said the employee.
The temperature outside of the building showed 92 degrees before noon. Inside, on the sixth floor, News 13 thermometers read close to that in the high 80s.
Bernalillo County Public Works officials said the chillers were as old as the building, 35 years, and stopped working. New units still haven't been installed.
"We were able to order them on the seventh of June and they were scheduled for delivery on the 14th," explained Mary Murnane, department director for Bernalillo County Fleet and Facilities. "Unfortunately the company that delivered them changed the scheduled delivery dates three times, and so we only got them yesterday."
However, workers told News 13 tensions are high. One person sent in a picture of a thermometer showing around 90 degrees.
When asked if the heat was keeping the employees from doing their job, one person responded, "Absolutely, we're getting paid money to be here for nothing, to sweat."
"People are short with one another, short with clients, short with each other, you know its verging on hostile," said an employee. The employee said some are taking vacation and sick leave, while others who don't have the time off still go to work.
Murnane said scheduling should be handled with each department's individual supervisor. She added, workers are encouraged to dress down, for instance, wear shorts, and bring lots of water. If more fans are needed, Murnane said they'll be available.
The employee said they're limiting the computers they turn on inside the building because they emit too much heat.
"I am asking for patience, and I understand that people are just feeling uncomfortable, and that's understandable that they'd be upset," said Murnane.
Murnane said they're still working to schedule a crane to install the new AC units since the building is so tall. They'll need to close part of Fourth Street to get that done.
The new units cost the county about $170,000. Murnane said it's money they were going to use for remodeling. They hope to have the new units installed by Monday at the latest.
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