After a blessed hiatus there are suddenly problems brewing in the Building Department. Mumbling within the department is growing to audible moans. Contractors, and ordinary folk seeking permits and licenses are beginning to complain loudly. What is going on down at the Building Department? Let's take a look inside.
The first sign of trouble was the departure of Mr. Elwood who was known as a tenacious worker intent on improving the building practices of various people in the construction field. Elwood usually played the "father" role to a bunch of adolescent hammer swingers who were more adept at hitting their thumbs than reading the Building Code. Of course, you can't expect "dad" to stay on the job unless you pay him a decent wage and treat him with respect. Elwood left and he is sorely missed.
Things have gotten a lot worse. The Building Department has been rocked by the hasty departure of their head honcho, Tom Forbes. Mr. Forbes is the one who restored confidence, order and trust to our once-notorious Building Department. You could trust that when Tom told you, "no," he was holding others to the same standards of construction.
Although the message Mr. Forbes delivered often carried negative connotations, people admired the manner in which he delivered th message. He was not a pumped up bully who liked to let you know he had significant authority. He had a nicer way it was a pleasure to deal with Tom Forbes on any issue.
Perhaps the loss of this secure and genuinely talented boss is what is most troubling to a staff needing hones direction and constant support. Tom didn't need his staff to fear or cow-tow. He wore his own self-worth like a badge of honor for all to see. We should all be concerned at why public servants like Tom Forbes feel it necessary to abandon ship.
Someone at City Hall should be asking just what is happening to our Building Department. Is the City Manager giving enough support to his building staff? Are contractors and developers beginning to take over the Building Department again? Are too many important development decisions being overturned? Is transparency of the decision-making process being darkened by some very shady deals?
If you are concerned about these question then you should be asking why things aren't going well at the Building Department. With major building and construction projects consuming every section of the island, we need to know that we have an honest and responsive Building Department. We do not need to slide backward.
Reports are already filtering in that things are backing up in the Building Department. Permits and licenses are piling up and the cost of processing is getting more expensive for just about everyone. The nicer way is growing into longer lines and short tempers.
Complaints are being heard that certain developers don't really have to work under the same rules and codes that apply to others. And, could the reports be true, that off-shore development doesn't really have to conform to any type of building code? Who can we trust to give us the answer?