Code Enforcement Officer [TR-09-66 ]

From the SUMMARY OF METHUEN’S FY 2009 CDBG PROGRAM, at the bottom of page 1 of 2, I read.

Code Enforcement – $72,672.00

The Code Enforcement Officer is now full time and will prepare and maintain inspection reports and field records with photos documenting conditions, enforcement action and corrective follow-up.

The following objectives outline the direction, focus and issues that the Code Enforcement Officer will continue to address:

slum and blight in the Target Area by maintaining a neighborhood presence,

promoting homeowner investments in property improvements,

implementing a code enforcement management plan to identify and seek corrective action on housing code violations;

conducting extensive outreach with businesses and neighborhood organizations regarding the identification and prevention of health code violations;

utilizing media and public relation tools to proactively advocate for improving neighborhood health and safety; and

providing technical assistance to landlords and tenants.

The Target Area is described as the properties in the Methuen Arlington neighborhood.

Also included as a Model Block by Block Initiative (Annis, St, Ashton Pl, Blake St, Camden St, Carleton, Center St, Chase St, Chelmsford St, French St, Kirk St, Merrill St, Phillips St, Spruce St and Tenney St.) which shall receive additional priority.

I read this description and asked myself a few questions.

We already have a Code Enforcement Officer?

Language is a key component in reading these documents. It states “The Code Enforcement Officer is now full time”.

Also note that it states “the Code Enforcement Officer will continue”.

 Who is this person?

I searched the budget for 2010. Low and behold there is a line item for a Code Enforcement Officer.

It is located on page 42 of the FY2010 Budget under Department of Economic and community Development, Health. (page 59 of 105 in the PDF).

It is not funded. Therefor I do not believe we have an officer at this time.

Strange that just below this line item under travel expenses is a line item stating Code Enforcement officers at $12,000 this Fiscal Year. It shows a line item for Director and Nurse. Looking above i find the Director and Nurse positions, the only other filled positions are the 2 Health Inspectors. They must also be called Code Enforcement Officers.

So we currently pay them $92,760 per year. [To be fair that amount is split between them- thus technically each gets about $46,380 per year, excluding clothing and car allowances.]

The grant implies we are adding a code enforcement officer just for the Arlington District at $72,672.00.

Sure would like to see the requirements for that position. The application doesn’t mention any qualifications. I wonder who they will get to fill that position? Can you guess? Let’s be suprised together when they finally announce this.

If we make some assumptions, what do we learn? let’s assume that this person will work a 40 hour week. (The local government only works 35 hours, BY CONTRACT.)  Forty Hours per week times 52 weeks is 2080 hours per year. That is, generally, how private industry assesses hourly pay scales. So $72,672.00 per year divided by 2080 hours per year is $34.94 per hour (actual= $34.938).

How does this compare with any national average for that job type?

I only found one survey. It was performed in 2005 by the Washington State Association of Code Enforcement.

In that survey, persons making  $33-$35 per hour were in the top 8% of all persons employed in that career. The majority (about 27%) were making $21-$23 per hour. That translates to $43,680 to $47,840 per year. Pretty close to what our current Health Inspectors make.

My bet is you hear very little about the grant at tomorrows City Council Meeting. It is a first read item and will most likely be approved and discussion will wait until next meeting when the votes are lined up to get this flown through.

Addenda: Check out this website;  Boston Code Enforcement Division

admin posted at 2009-10-18 Category: City Council

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