Lakewood Agrees To Share Code Enforcement Officer

LAKEWOOD – At a recent meeting, the Lakewood Village Board voted to agree to the contract to share a code enforcement officer with Busti.

The contract would split the $45,000 salary of a full-time code enforcement officer between the town and village. In exchange for receiving half of the officer’s time, Lakewood would reimburse Busti $22,500. Payments will be made on a monthly basis.

Busti tabled the issue at its last meeting awaiting Lakewood’s action. However, not everybody on the Lakewood board supported the contract.David DiSalvo, Lakewood trustee, expressed concern that because of a backlog of issues, the 20 hours a week allotted to Lakewood will not be enough time for the code enforcement officer to address issues within the village. Clarifying while he was not against Jeff Swanson, temporary inspection officer, nor against shared services, he did not like the way the contract was written, and feels the village board should be more involved.

“I’m not really ready to relinquish the village’s authority to hire and fire personnel,” DiSalvo said.

“… I think the village board should have been involved in interviewing candidates. I know it is a town position, but I still think if we are going to share a cost, we should be involved in the selection of the person to serve the village.”

While John Jablonski III, Lakewood trustee, did not attend the meeting, during a phone interview with The Post-Journal he expressed similar sentiments to DiSalvo.

Like DiSalvo, he opposed to the measure being acted upon Monday due to the backlog of issues which plague the code enforcement office.

“I believe that the budget passed by the board was irresponsible in cutting the funding for code enforcement,” Jablonski said.

“… I don’t think the job can be done with the arrangement that is being proposed adequately,” he added.

“We need to be responsive to the continual requests from our citizens that want our laws to be better enforced, and I don’t think this is the way that is going to happen.”

According to David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor, discussion to share a code enforcement officer between the town and village has been ongoing for a couple of years.

In addition, Wordelmann pointed out the agreement still sat in the initial stages, and the contract lasts until June of next year with a 90-day cancellation clause for the village in case things do not work out.

“Everything new you do is trial and error,” he said.

“… There is a perfect example already between the town and the village (sharing services) it’s the police department.

“The town contracts with us for the police department.

“They do not, at any point, ever get involved in the hiring process of our police officers.

“And yet that contract is going in the neighborhood of $490,000 a year that the town is spending to contract for services.

“To me, it is up to the town, no different from when we hire police officers it is up to us.”

The board approved the proposed agreement between Lakewood and Busti which states the town agrees to provide code enforcement officer service to the village in accordance with and subject to its terms. Only DiSalvo voting against it.

Jablonski stated if he had attended the meeting, he would have voted against it as well.