Work Orders Offer 'Rare Glimpse' Into WH Maintenance Issues

Like mice, roaches, ants, and a toilet seat for the Oval Office
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2017 9:11 AM CST
White House Repair Orders: Mice, Roaches, Toilet Seat
No one wants to see what lurks behind the White House's interior walls—they just want it fixed.   (Getty Images/TriggerPhoto)

Remember when President Trump reportedly called the White House a "real dump"? The New York Post notes that, at least in terms of maintenance issues, that observation may not be entirely inaccurate. Hundreds of work orders for the White House were submitted in 2017, and News4 got its hands on them, calling them a "rare glimpse into the granular work" needed for the upkeep. The requests were sent to the General Services Office's Public Buildings Service, and they include everything from mundane heating repairs and installation of new furniture and electronics equipment to what appears to be an ongoing pest-control mission. Over the past couple of years, maintenance staff has dealt with roaches, ants in the chief of staff's office, and mice in the Navy's White House Mess dining facility, located right next to the Situation Room (which also has a mouse problem).

Other standout items among the orders: a decorator for National Security Adviser HR McMaster, a replacement toilet seat for the Oval Office (to be done "after hours, please"), new pictures for ex-press secretary Sean Spicer's office, and new drapes in Melania Trump's East Wing office, with the mandate of the "overall effect of the room being taller." Former GSA officials note some of the work orders can be complicated to complete, as the building is a historic one. And those work orders are constant, leading to costs of up to $100,000 per year for repairs and other general maintenance, which ex-GSA Inspector General Brian Miller says isn't terribly surprising. "Any of us who have old houses know old houses need a lot of work," he says. The number of 2017 work orders isn't too far off the number sent in during President Obama's final year in office. (More White House stories.)

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