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Thread: Jack-of-all-trades

  1. #1
         
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    Jack-of-all-trades

    Im the unknown stuntman... (207.174.120.2)
    Friday, March 30, 2001 - 12:44 pm
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    Our codes enforcement department has been given direction from upper management that they are repsonsible for traffic enforcement only. They have not read other pertinent sections of the town code and have no interest in enforcement of non-traffic issues.

    Therefore, our planning department has become the clearinghouse for resolution of all other issues. Recent citizen complaints forwarded to our office by the police department include: a stray poodle in someone's yard, a neighbor who only takes his trash out once a month, parking violations, a town streetlight that is too bright, and other "planning and zoning" issues. We are asked to follow up on these complaints and I hate to blow off citizens or send them back to PD because they get so frustrated with the "run around" - but I refuse to deal with this crap anymore. Usually, citizens are confused when PD sends them to a planner. Go figure. It's pretty funny unless you're in the middle of it all.

    The cops claim it is because "the planners are the only ones who know the town code." Our director says we should consider it a complement. I consider it an insult and the shirking of responsibility.

    Clearly, our cops and admin. staff have no idea what planners do within municipal government.

    Anyone else deal with this issue? Any advice? Maybe I just need to vent. Thanks for the opportunity.

  2. #2
    Linden Smith (199.165.138.96)
    Friday, March 30, 2001 - 03:15 pm
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    Code enforcement is one of my favorite parts of the job!! You get to meet new people and compare how hard they can kick! But I always make sure that I carefully report all such activities in my time sheet, and draft a long memo, carefully detailing every case and it's resolution, and perhaps what I'd be getting done if I were not getting cats out of trees. And then I send it out to every department head and elected official so that they know what I'm doing while I'm not doing my job.
    In my life, I have met men both good, and evil. I defend my self against them all...

  3. #3
         
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    The Fall Guy (207.174.120.2)
    Friday, March 30, 2001 - 04:00 pm
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    Good advice Linden. Thanks!

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Dan Tasman (65.35.6.67)
    Saturday, March 31, 2001 - 11:33 pm
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    Hee he!

    In the new job, I'm the planning director, secretary, building inspector, parks director, grants administrator, Webmaster and code enforcement officer. Fortunately, it's a small town, and I can call on the cops for backup -- code enforcement isn't responsibility, but they're there for support.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Lee Majors (207.174.120.2)
    Monday, April 2, 2001 - 10:02 am
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    Don't get me wrong...I have no problem with code enforcement on planning or zoning issues. I just don't want to be on the hook for stray dogs and other assorted nonsense.

    My free time is better spent working on my acting career.

  6. #6
    Planzilla (63.171.251.141)
    Monday, April 2, 2001 - 10:35 am
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    If you can establish a decent relationship with the police chief, the best thing is to sit down with him and your chief executive and work out a deal. In a county where I used to be zoning administrator, the Board was considering hiring a new person to do just code enforcement. Instead, we allocated that money to the Sheriff's Office, and he agreed to assign one deputy to do that work on an "as-needed" basis. The deputy boned up on the various nuisance ordinances (noise, weeds, etc.), and he and I used to get together when necessary to look at complaints in the field. I took care of the zoning violations, and he handled the others. It worked pretty slick--we each had a witness if we needed one in court, and I especially liked having a companion with a badge and gun when visiting certain acquaintances. Good luck.

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    Planman (209.184.247.16)
    Wednesday, April 4, 2001 - 06:13 pm
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    I agree completely with Planzilla. I have had similar experiences. I basically had to tell the "higher-ups" that I will be most happy to solve their problems, but if they complain about the solution I will no longer accept complaints. My solution is very similar to Planzilla's advice.

  8. #8
         
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    Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Planner (207.174.120.2)
    Friday, April 13, 2001 - 03:55 pm
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    Thanks for the advice. My ex-wife Farrah Fawcett says Planzilla is right too. Then again, she also thinks her facelift isn't that obvious.

    "I might fall from a burning building...."

  9. #9
         
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    Planman (209.184.247.16)
    Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 03:27 pm
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    Hey Lee, my curiosity is getting the better of me! Has your situation improved or are you still having to chase stray poodles? How about some follow-up details! Thanks.

  10. #10
         
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    Lee Majors a.k.a (207.174.120.2)
    Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - 04:29 pm
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    Thanks for asking Planman:

    Our new zoning enforcement officer started yesterday, but we are reminding PD that he will not be chasing stray dogs (we have animal control for that), he'll be handling zoning and building code stuff.

    At first our city manager wouldn't approve the new position, but I reminded him that my bionic eye witnessed a compromising situation he may not want to surface publicly...so it was a relatively simple matter. Working with Oscar Goldman at OSI headquarters taught me some great negotiation skills.

    So the situation has gotten much better and I have more free time for some bit parts in lottery commercials, a food dehydrator infomercial and an upcoming remake of Six Million Dollar Man episode #167, "Steve Encounters Sasquatch" (I'm the guy with the hairy back). Watch for it on the Superstation!!!

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