To those of you out there that are involved in Code Enforcement;
1. Have you ever experienced interference by an elected official or influential business person? Yes or No
2. If you answered yes, what type of interference was it?
3. If you answered yes, how did you handle it?
Grateful for any response.
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03-01-2001, 12:35 PM #1amfmFirehouse.com Guest
03-01-2001, 03:18 PM #29C7Firehouse.com Guest
To take your issues in order:
1) I have had plenty of interference by influential business people. Rarely to my face, though. They usually end up in the town manager's office calling me names. So far, we've been able to resist the pressure from Town Hall by providing copies of Code language, state laws, etc., that show we actually know what we are talking about.
I've never had direct interference from a politician...again, they usually end up in the town manager's office. See above.
Basically, we have to handle it by having our ducks in a row, and having documentation of every inspection and/or conversation we have ever had.
Please understand that I have no problem when someone questions what I do or say, my problem is when they still don't like it and go over my head. That's fine too, and the Chief and Deputy Chief are very supportive. It's the town administration that throws the monkey wrench in things. I actually have a written directive from the town manager prohibiting me from enforcing certain code provisions (specifically NFPA 1231 regarding rural water supply). God help him when someone gets killed or loses their home and their lawyer finds out we weren't allowed to enforce the codes.
Enough of that. I really do like my job, and 99% of the people I deal with are great, and interested in doing the right thing.
You asked for my opinion, now you have it. Any similarity to another opinion, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
[This message has been edited by 9C7 (edited 03-01-2001).]
03-02-2001, 11:01 PM #3SMOKEY406Firehouse.com Guest
Great topic, I'll be watching this one closely.
1. The answer is YES!!!!! It is routine procedure to have the politicians and influentials make calls on behalf of others. Now like the previous post states I have no problem when there are asking questions about how the code reads but I hate it when they tell me how they want the code to read. On one occasion the Director of Codes (non-fire service political hack)told me that he would have my job to which I replied hey pal you are the director of codes making $60,000 and I am a Fire Lieutenant making $45,000 what the hell do you want my job for? There was a short silence and then a dial tone. About 3 minutes later I was in the Chiefs office. Still didn't get that transfer! One problem in my City is that the Director of Codes has the final say. Oh well he might have it here but someday he will answer to a higher authority and all of those people that left this earth early because of his stupidity will be there to have their say. I'll lead the line! Then there was the city official that fought me on a clear code violation and said that the city had given the owners $ so we must take it easy on them. Well I didn't back off and three months later when the owners didn't hold up their end of the deal with the city I got a call from the same official asking me to shut them down! Enough war stories.
2. The interference ranges from intimidation to threats and going over my head to a chief that is appointed and not ready to retire as of yet.
3. I handle it by making sure that my ducks are in a row, documenting the hell out of it and making sure that they know that the paper trail exists. I also contact the insurance company for the violator and make sure that they are aware of the problems. I haven't gone the media route yet because they are in bed with the politicians. It will all stop when the first fatality or serious injury results and the injured's attorney FOILs the paper work. I must be doing something right though because I got the housing court judge to deliver a $110,934.oo judgement against one very influential heavy hitter.
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