MASSENA - Town officials are considering applicants for a code enforcement officer to handle code work in the town outside the village.
The Massena Town Council met in executive session Tuesday to review seven applicants for the position, which town officials expect to be fill on a part-time basis. Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said he would hope town officials will be able to make a decision on who to hire by their March 20 meeting.
We have a priority list, and now we have to decide who to bring in for interviews and how to move forward from there, Mr. Gray said. Were hoping to have a better idea (of who we want to hire) for the next board meeting.
The town is looking for a person to work 20 to 25 hours per week, including regular office hours, and handle all aspects of code enforcement in the town outside the village, including issuing building permits and conducting fire inspections. Mr. Gray said the town board would like to hire an individual who has previous experience in code enforcement and/or construction, strong communication skills and preferably someone who resides in Massena.
Mr. Gray also sees code enforcement certification as a huge plus for a potential hiree, but said a persons hiring would not be contingent on whether he or she was already certified as a code enforcement officer.
Its not unusual to have someone working as a code enforcement officer while in (code enforcement) training, Mr. Gray said. Usually they have experience in construction. If you have experience as a contractor for 20 years. youre pretty familiar with building codes.
Mr. Gray said the pool of applicants include candidates with and without code enforcement certification.
The town has contracted with the village for the past several years to utilize the services of former Code Enforcement Officer Gregory C. Fregoe and firefighters trained in code enforcement. Since Mr. Fregoes resignation Jan. 22, the village has been relying on its career firefighters trained in code enforcement to handle Mr. Fregoes former duties.
In an email sent to town officials Jan. 20, Mayor James F. Hidy wrote that the village would continue to provide code enforcement service outside the village for a short period of time until the town council could implement an alternative for code enforcement.
Mr. Gray said town officials have been in contact with the village over code enforcement and based on those discussions he feels confident that they will continue code enforcement for as long as neccessary.
One issue between the separation of code enforcement is use of the code enforcement office, which is staffed by full-time secretary Avis Hazelton. Town officials said the person they hire would still be able to utilize the code enforcement office because the Massena Town Hall is owned by the town, but may not be able to utilize the services of Ms. Hazelton unless the town contracts with the village.
Councilman John F. Macaulay previously stated he believes that in an age of cell phones and email a secretary may no longer be needed to conduct code enforcement business in the town.
I think if we got this guy or gal a good cell phone we wont need anyone taking messages, Mr. Macaulay said. If we publish that cell phone number, (the code enforcement officer) can pick that phone up wherever he is.
However, Mr. Gray said town officials are still considering contracting with the village to utilize the services of Ms. Hazelton in the interest of providing adequate and convenient code enforcement in the town outside the village.
The question is will (the code enforcement officer) need support from that office, and if so, how much support? Mr. Gray said. We want to make sure the code enforcement function isnt diminished by us not having support there.
Mr. Gray added that he felt many in the community would like to see the town and village work collaboratively rather than separately. It makes sense from the standpoint of sharing expenses, he said.
The input of town businesses with large construction projects underway may decide whether the town will contract with the village for use of the code enforcement secretary and the number of hours the town will hire a person to work. Mr. Gray said town officials are currently having discussions with town businesses, such as Alcoa, to determine what they will need for code enforcement.
If Alcoa goes forward on the (plans to modernize its east plant), how much will be needed there? We dont want to do anything that will cause a negative impact on the town outside the village because we didnt have adequate code enforcement there, Mr. Gray said.