Boro OKs Mack as enforcement officer|
Friday, August 17, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
The Clearfield Borough Council voted unanimously to reaffirm its hiring of Larry Mack as code enforcement officer at its meeting last night after a resident questioned his employment.
During the public comment portion of the meeting Gary Bailey questioned whether Mack obtained the necessary certifications to continue in his employment as code enforcement officer.
He referred to the minutes of the March 2009 meeting, when council first hired Mack as code officer, saying in its motion to hire Mack council required he obtain his certification within six months.
Bailey said he doesn't believe Mack ever did receive his certification and questioned his continued employment as code officer.
Mack was hired in March of 2009 to replace Jim Kling who retired from the position; Kling is now a member of council representing the Fourth Ward.
Near the close of the meeting, council adjourned to an executive session to discuss personnel matters and it lasted for approximately one hour.
After reconvening the meeting, Kling said in order to clear up any confusion on the matter, made a motion that council reaffirm its hiring of Mack as code enforcement officer and said he would retain the authority to enforce the borough's codes, ordinances, zoning, and property maintenance code and would retain his salary and benefits.
However, the motion also requires Mack to receive his certification to enforce the International Property Maintenance Code within one-year.
Kling also placed in his motion that Mack may also obtain additional certifications that could be beneficial to him if he so wishes. Council voted 8-0 to approve the motion; all members were present.
Following the meeting, Kling said he made the new motion because in its original 2009 motion to hire Mack, council never specified, which certifications Mack would need to obtain within six months.
Kling said Mack has been and is currently authorized to enforce the borough's codes and ordinances without any further certification.
However, Kling said there are new rules coming that would require code officers to be certified to enforce the International Property Maintenance Code and placed this in his motion that he receive this within one year.
If Mack does not receive his certification within a year, council would revisit the matter to see if there were any extenuating circumstances for Mack not receiving his certification, Kling said.
When asked by The Progress if Mack is required to receive his Building Code Officer certification, Kling said he is not.
Kling said BCO certification is only necessary for Mack to do building inspections and currently the borough has a third-party perform these inspections, Middle States Inspection Agency.
Kling said having a third-party perform building inspections has the advantage in that if the borough had its own building inspector perform inspections, the borough assumes greater liability if something goes wrong, if a third-party organization performs the inspection, the outside organization assumes some of the liability.
In a phone interview this morning, borough operations manager Leslie Stott said she believed last night's motion was also meant to educate the public that Mack is authorized by the borough ordinances to enforce the borough's codes and ordinances and said she is as well.
Kling said last night the police department is also authorized to enforce borough codes and ordinances.
However, in 2009 some members of council might have intended for Mack to receive his BCO certification. According to a May 15, 2009 article in The Progress, Joseph Kane of Clearfield complained over Mack retaining his position as code enforcement officer despite not receiving his BCO certification.
In the article, Mack said he took the test the previous April but missed his certification by two questions and would be retaking the test in June and former councilwoman Susan Reed said she was confident that Mack would pass the test.
When asked this morning in a phone interview, borough Solicitor F. Cortez Bell III said he couldn't remember if the borough advertised in 2009 that the new employee for the position of code officer should obtain their BCO.
However he said he doesn't believe this makes a difference now, and he said he doesn't believe the borough would have to re-advertise the position because the borough has reaffirmed its hiring of Mack and said the position entails more aspects than being a BCO.
In other business, after a debate that got heated at times, council voted 7-1 to approve the summer polo shirts for the police department and that the shirts be purchased out of the police department's uniform allowance.
At last week's committee meetings Chief Vincent McGinnis said he went ahead and purchased the shirts after Solicitor F. Cortez Bell III said he had the authority to do so without council's approval. However, council objected to this saying it should approve all uniform changes.
Councilman Fred Wisor objected to taxpayer money being used on something the department doesn't need and said if a uniform change is approved, council would be required to purchase four uniform shirts for each officer in the summer because in its labor contract with the police department council is required to provide two uniforms for each officer.
If there are two types of summer uniform shirts, the polo shirts and the traditional shirts, council would have to purchase a total of four shirts per officer.
However, Councilman Tim Winters said they are only "beating a dead horse," with this discussion because the shirts have already been purchased and cannot be returned because the police officers are wearing them and they had the officers names embroidered onto them.
To avoid any confusion, Winters made the motion to approve the shirts without making it an official uniform change so council would not be required to purchase additional shirts.
Wisor cast the only dissenting vote.
McGinnis said, because of wear and tear, uniforms, no matter what type generally last about a year and a half.