More Town Employees in the Hot Seat

We occasionally watch with horror as the Mason Selectmen review and slash and burn information presented to them by their department heads. There seem to be three department heads currently in the selectmen’s purview; already having gutted two departments, there’s not many left. Yet rather than converse in a rational manner, the selectmen write file cabinet policies and the nitpicking goes on unabated against employees in question while they are not present. Whatever happened to delegation, training employees if needed, and then letting them do their job? Maybe converting staff meetings to “non-public sessions” was a good idea?

Today’s article will focus on the office of “building inspector”. We did a brief review of past minutes to sample the landscape:

2014-12-09 Minutes: Review building Permit #25-14 Is in Village Residential District? Is it a pre – existing lot? Select Board needs answers to questions. Building Inspector Eric Anderson needs to provide approved septic design; no construction should begin until it is received.

2014-11-25 Minutes: Building Inspector position discussed. Louise Lavoie suggested reaching out to see surrounding communities would want to partner with us. Charlie Moser to put together Building Inspector job description for remaining board members to review. Once reviewed, will post on town’s website.

2014-10-14 Reviewed building permits # 20-14, 14-18, 19-14, 14-17, 16-14. Jeannine to speak with Eric about process of permits from start to completion.

A discussion at the December 23 selectmen’s meeting (minutes not yet on the web) is the straw that broke this camel’s back. Again comments like “no setback lines drawn”, “is the septic adaquate for the addition”, “not enough information to review”, “is a frost free foundation required for the addition”, and on and on about the reports that have had a pretty uniform outline since Ken Wilson‘s tenure.

The selectmen tabled the permit for lot K-60. Selectman O’Grady stated that “the last time we sent one back it went ahead anyway”… “how can we review permits after they are granted?”.

We held off on this story until the latest applicant victim has hopefully been contacted by Chairman Moser regarding the status of their application.

We also got a reply from the Mason building inspector regarding his view of the situation:

I haven’t heard anything from them so that is good… I think. If I am not following an RSA that I took an oath to follow, by all means call me out on it. If they are stating an opinion on how I am doing as building inspector, yes its a thankless job. I will have to go to a couple meetings to encourage them that I want to help train someone else to do this job. Also to teach them how to review/read a application for a building permit which I turn in to them as the applicants come forward.

So in regards to the “thankless job” comment we refer you here which is a request by the inspector regarding backup and the general pay scale vs working other jobs. That request is over one year old, yet nothing looking like a resolution appears to have taken place.

We also listened to Selectmen Lavoie’s apology that “she had dropped the ball” on reaching out to surrounding communities, and there as yet being no website posting for the job.

So we think we see the problem, and it doesn’t appear to be the town employees.


Full disclosure: we recently hired Mason’s building inspector to create a small garden area for us. We were quite pleased with the result; but may now be biased as performance on that job clearly slants our sympathies towards him.

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