FLINT, Mich – Employees at Dort Federal Credit Union experienced a small scare when someone discovered suspicious-looking white, powdery smudges on two office chairs last week. Luckily, the smudges turned out to be icing from a cake that an employee had brought in on the previous Friday but fire and police officials and a hazardous materials crew were still called out and the credit union’s second floor was immediately evacuated. “We (didn’t) know what the substance (was) but the safety of our members and employees is paramount,” said Tom Gisewhite, Dort’s vice president of marketing. “We (did) cooperate with our local authorities.” The employee had just arrived at the credit union’s main office at 8.a.m. on Oct. 15 when the smudges were found. Because his supervisor had not arrived yet, he contacted the lead person, who called local authorities, Gisewhite said. Gisewhite, who was not in the building when the smudges were initially found, estimated that there were less than 10 employees on the second floor, which houses the credit union’s administrative operations. The ground floor contains the member lobby and remained opened for the rest of the day. Dort has four branches and 46,000 members including employees at Delphi/Delco Electronics, the mobile electronics and transportation component giant. Before the substance was tested, Lt. Antonio Mata of the City of Flint Police Department’s criminal investigation bureau offered few details because of the nature of the incident but did say federal authorities were notified as standard procedure and the investigation had remained in their local jurisdiction. The entire floor was evacuated for roughly two hours on the day of the discovery, Gisewhite said. All 12 employees who worked on the second floor were later allowed to secure some work belongings and were relocated to other parts of the ground floor for the remainder of the day. The second floor was open for business the following day. Gisewhite said the smudge could have come from “one of many sources” such as a cleaning solution, cleanser, white out or icing from a cake brought in by an employee on Friday, Oct. 12 but “it was better to be safe than sorry.” Dort’s records show its regular cleaning crew had been there the night before and company logs confirmed signatures of all that signed in and out. Gisewhite talked to Credit Union Times on the upper floor of the building the day after the incident with “110% confidence.” “I’m working up here now,” he said. “This floor very rarely has member contact, maybe a vendor every now and then. Our confidence level is very high and employees are back working.” Dort’s president/CEO Gary Powers along with several branch managers were attending a conference in Tucson when the incident took place. The irony of the incident, Gisewhite said, is on the morning of the discovery, credit union officials were presenting a check for $17,000 to the local American Red Cross chapter. – samaad@bellsouth.net