Leak damages legislature’s phone system

Things are screwed up in Annapolis, but what else is new?

Lowe House Office Building

Lowe House Office Building (prior to renovations)

Sometime over the weekend, a leak in the roof of the Lowe House Office Building caused extensive damage to the phone system for many of the offices of the members of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates. The building is currently undergoing renovations.

Some of the phones are not functioning properly and voicemail is out for the entire legislative complex, according to e-mails from legislative staff.

In an e-mail Tuesday afternoon, Karl Aro, executive director of legislative services, the leak sent water “into the telephone switch room, shorting out half of the ‘motherboards’ and almost causing a fire.” The contractor has been trying to fix the roof since Tuesday morning.

The legislature is waiting for new parts to arrive “since the current ones are melted to the shelves,” according to an e-mail from Deborah Hamilton in the office of Senate President Mike Miller.

Voice mail will not be functioning untll next week.

The voice mail problem comes at an inconvenient time for some members of the House of Delegates. Many do not maintain separate offices in their districts, and because of the $9.9 million renovation of the Lowe building, their staff members are working at home and retrieving messages for delegates from the voice mail system.

The problems should be fixed by Monday, according to Alex Hughes, spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Busch.

–Len Lazarick

About The Author

Len Lazarick


Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.