Busti Residents Concerned About Enforcement Officer

BUSTI – Residents spoke up about their concerns in the hiring of Jeff Swanson by Busti as temporary, part-time deputy code enforcement officer at the town board meeting last week.

While residents had nothing against Swanson himself, their major concern was that Busti may not be having a fair hiring process to find the best qualified candidate to replace Charlie Smith, Lakewood’s code enforcement officer, who will be retiring in June. The town and the village have agreed to share the code enforcement officer position in the future.

The Busti board assured citizens an advertisement will be put out in the paper, and the best qualified candidate will be hired to permanently fill the position. They were only trying to cover their own bases due to the sudden resignation of the Busti code enforcement officer, Melanie Eddy. They didn’t believe a fully qualified person would be willing to be hired on a part-time, temporary basis and due to Swanson’s hiring being subsidized as training, it costs the town next to nothing, it was seen as a win-win scenario.

Busti will be sending Swanson to attend training courses in Rochester for free due to funding from Chautauqua Works once a month from February to July.

In other news, John Bentley, Lakewood-Busti police chief, talked about the government grant for a K-9 unit. The grant will cover the costs of the training of the canine – a bomb dog who can be crossed trained as a tracking and patrol dog. Since the handler would be an officer already in the department, the vet services and food are free, there would be no additional cost.

Bentley would like people to understand bomb dogs don’t just sniff out “bombs,” they sniff out anything with explosive residue, which can be handy in crime scenes to find shell casings and firearms. This is because dogs can smell the individual ingredients of an object.

Beth Davis, Busti court clerk, gave her yearly court report as well as taking the time to inform people a bit about the Busti Court.

“We are not a small court,” Davis said. “We used to be the fourth largest court in the county, and that was behind Chautauqua County Court, Jamestown City Court and Dunkirk City Court.”

Davis went on to explain the problems the court faces, the most notorious being the stairs. She said Lakewood has been very good about making arrangements for those who could not get up the stairs.