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Village has no plans of helping town with code enforcement issue

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MASSENA - The town of Massena will no longer have a code enforcement officer as of Friday, and Mayor James F. Hidy said the village has no plans to help out the town.

“It’s their issue,” Mr. Hidy said. “We’re not going to get involved with their code enforcement issues at this time.”

At one time, it was expected that Peter T. Devine was going to work as a joint code enforcement officer for both the town and village. But Mr. Devine resigned from his position with the village in August after only one week on the job.

Mr. Devine, who was named the town’s code enforcement officer in July, continued to work for the town and is now resigning from that position after roughly 10 months on the job.

Mr. Devine announced his intentions in an email dated May 1 to Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray.

“This letter is to inform you that I will be leaving my position as the town of Massena code officer,” he wrote. “My last day of work will be the 9th of May. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work for the people of Massena.”

Mr. Gray said that while he was not surprised by the resignation he has yet to speak with Mr. Devine about it.

“I had no conversation with him prior to receiving this email and I haven’t spoken with him since. We got an email and that’s it,” Mr. Gray said.

When asked what’s next for the town’s code enforcement office, Mr. Gray said at this point, he’s not sure, adding that one option could be contracting with a neighboring town for code enforcement services.

“We meed to make a decision in a hurry,” he said, epxlaining that he’ll likely call a special meeting before the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 21.

“It’s horrible timing,” Mr. Gray said. “We’re coming up on the construction season. There are several active building permits and others that are still waiting to be issued.”

Mr. Gray said the lack of a code enforcement officer will likely lead to some delays, but he’s anticipating the delays to not last very long.

Mr. Gray said he has reached out to town board members to receive input on the matter if speaking to the fire department is something his board wants to do, Mr. Gray said rejecting that proposal isn’t something Mr. Hidy can do by himself.

Currently with regard to code enforcement within the village, the department is running very efficiently,” Mr. Hidy said. “At this time, I don’t think we’re interested in a joint code enforcement office, other than through the utilization of already employed clerical staff.”

Mr. Hidy said given that the village’s code enforcement office is staffed by career firefighters it is important for them to be in the village as often as possible.

“Keeping the career firefighters in the village while performing code duties is in the best interest of the village residents in case of emergency,” he said.

Mr. Gray responded by saying, “The mayor doesn’t make those decisions unilatterly. The village board does. If that is something we’re interested in then the town board would speak with the village about it.”

While Mr. Gray said he wasn’t surprised by Mr. Devine’s announcement, he also said he’s not upset about it.

“I wasn’t surprised by it, but I’m not dissapointed,” Mr. Gray said.

In his letter Mr. Devine explained among the reasons he was leaving the position was the workload at his “full-time” job became to much to do both that and code enforcement for the town.

“There are many reasons for my decision to leave. The main reason is that my work load at my full-time job has increased and needs more of my attention,” Mr. Devine wrote. “They are offering me an increase in (compensation) that will make up the difference that the town is paying me.”

A message left at Mr. Devine’s home Thursday afternoon was not immediatley returned.

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