CODE0830_GRAPH WEB

City of Frederick Code Enforcement

Number of cases opened 2007 through 2014

Source: City of Frederick

As Frederick residents report more property code violations, the city's code enforcement department is asking for one more staff member.

The city's Board of Aldermen is considering a request from the department to bring back the assistant code enforcement manager position. The aldermen talked about the change during a workshop Wednesday and are set to consider it at a public hearing in September.

The heavier caseload, about a 25 percent increase since 2011, comes after the city improved its Web page for reporting violations and created a smartphone app, said Joe Adkins, deputy director of planning. Other factors include increased media and social media attention, and excessive foreclosures due to the economy, he said.

Dan Hoffman, code enforcement manager, said his team needs more manpower to address the complaints. The assistant manager would handle cases just as the inspectors do and would have other responsibilities.

"For five years, I've been trying to transform this department," Hoffman said. "Every year, I take one step back."

Code enforcement now has a manager, five code inspectors and office staff. The department had an assistant code enforcement manager until November 2010, when the position was cut. Hoffman served in that role until then.

The number of cases opened by staff has fluctuated over the last five years. The number reached a high in 2010, with 4,041 total cases, before the city cut the assistant manager position. The number fell to 2,664 in 2011 and continued to fall for the next two years. This year, though, as of Wednesday, inspectors have already opened 2,473 cases.

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said she wanted to see more data, such as the number of violations this year that were due to snow and ice issues. There were 523 snow- and ice-related violations this year, compared with four in 2013, according to city data.

The staff plans to promote one of its inspectors this year into the role, but not immediately fill the inspector's position. The department has seen enough savings in its budget to pay for the salary increase for that person, but not enough for a new position. 

The pay grade for the assistant manager position ranges from $51,171 to $81,912. The pay grade for the code enforcement inspector position ranges from $40,610 to $65,031.

Under the city charter, the mayor and board cannot add funding to departments until the third quarter of the fiscal year. At that point, in April, the new position could be approved.

Along with acting as an inspector, the assistant manager's role would be to address trouble spots in the city, work on the blighted properties list, manage inspectors and assist the manager, according to a city document.

(6) comments

BstD59

Typical of this Administration led by 'do nothing' Mayor. Joe Adkins, the deputy director of planning states "Other factors include increased media and social media attention, and excessive foreclosures due to the economy." In other words, if citizens would stop complaining the Administration wouldn't have to be bothered doing anything about enforcing the codes.

sue1955

What a bunch of nit-picking, nonsensical politics. Ridiculous. With the number of cases, it appears to me that more people are needed to investigate all of those situations in a timely manner. No wonder nothing gets resolved. Possible approval next APRIL for a new position doesn't help that office this coming winter (with potentially more complaints due to snow/ice).

If the city can allocate millions of dollars to that unneeded hotel downtown and that park to be developed on the Hargett Farm site, why aren't funds provided for a satisfactory number of positions as well as decent salaries to go along with them? I agree with zabuda. City Hall is the problem.

As for volunteering; people not working for the city, on the books, would not have the authority to confront any violators, let alone starting basic work on the cases. There also wouldn't be any Workman's Compensation to cover any accidents that could occur for anybody acting on their own.

elymus43

Why hire more staff when nothing gets done???? The main problem looks like it's in City Hall.

Newthinking7

Case load down?.. that means citizens gave up. Not much has improved .

Newthinking7

Time to start finning the managment companies runing H.O.As Time to reguire H.O.A management.

Dwasserba

Complainants could volunteer their time/talent to help the department out as the city mulls this over. "Don't like it, you fix it." Asiana would be mint by now.

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