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North Olmsted City Council approves new building department position

By Jeff Gallatin

North Olmsted

North Olmsted officials are ready to have their new assistant building commissioner start building up the position’s workload as quickly as possible.

City Council approved at its Dec. 6 meeting legislation for appropriating funds in the temporary budget for the new building position as well as the new wastewater treatment assistant position. Councilman-at-large Mark Mahoney was the only council member to vote against the proposals, expressing concern about the fast track the administration had put the proposal on, as well as parts of the financial portion of the legislation.

In advocating for the new building post, Mayor Kevin Kennedy said there is a definite need to have another person in the building department.

“That person is going to be very busy,” Kennedy said. “Our building permit valuation is up three or four times what it was last year. We’ve got a lot of new permits and inspections that are going to have to be dealt with.”

In creating the proposal, administration officials stipulated that the new assistant would be out of

the office handling some of the permit and inspections field work in addition to working on some

administrative tasks as an assistant commissioner.

“That person’s not going to be in the office all the time,” Kennedy said. “I would expect him to be out in the field working.”

He said having an active assistant commissioner in the field much of the time will benefit businesses in North Olmsted as well as municipal government.

“I’m glad we’ve got a lot of permit work,” Kennedy said. “It means business and the economy is picking up. We can’t afford to let this type of work slip through the cracks or have businesses getting frustrated because we can’t get our permit work done in a timely manner. We need to get the additional person in here.”

When council members discussed the matter in committee, they asked why the legislation was scheduled to be passed on a suspended basis, instead of going the full three readings.

Kennedy indicated Planning and Development

Director Kim Wenger could interview and settle

on a person for the position faster if the legislation was approved at the first council meeting in December.

“We can get the person working faster that way,” he said.

Kennedy said if the workload slows, the city can adjust positions accordingly.

In expressing his concerns in the council caucus session before the meeting as well as during the voting, Mahoney said he didn’t necessarily object to the position, just how fast it was being moved along and eliminating the boot allowances for workers in the positions.

“I see no reason why we are suspending the full three readings on this,”  he said.

Mahoney also expressed the concerns about the financial aspects in registering no votes in those areas.

 

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