Clanton Council discusses creating a new position

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Clanton City Council discussed creating a compliance officer position during a work session on May 1.

No final decisions were made, and the topic is expected to be discussed at a future voting session.

Areas discussed for inclusion in the compliance officer’s job description included enforcement for nuisance ordinances (tall grass, etc.), parking violations, business licenses inspections and fire inspections.

A major topic of discussion was what department the position would be under. Council member Mary Mell Smith said if the draft being considered was approved, then the person would be doing inspections related to both the police and fire departments.

Fire Chief David Driver said having someone dedicated to annual fire code inspections of businesses would help the city’s ISO rating.

Requiring Peace Officer Standards and Training certification was discussed. By having this certification, the compliance officer would have arresting power.

“This person would have the authority to write a ticket or to make an arrest,” Smith said.

Driver said if the compliance officer had POST certification it would streamline and shorten the process. Some of the council members said it would be good to have the position as a part of the police department.

Certification for the fire inspections would also be required. Council member Awlahjaday Agee suggested the city consider allowing someone who is POST certified to complete the fire certifications after they are hired. Agee and David Driver said the POST certification was more difficult to attain than the fire inspection certifications.

Council member Sammy Wilson and Mayor Billy Joe Driver said having the fire inspections in the list of responsibilities would be too much for one person to handle.

Wilson asked who in the fire department was certified to do inspections.

David Driver answered half of the department was.

“If they are certified, why can’t you or them go to these places that need to be checked,” Wilson said.

David Driver said time becomes an issue in completing all of them.

Wilson said the current system, where a letter is sent notifying the person of a violation “leaves a paper trail” in case of a lawsuit.  The fire chief emphasized that if the compliance office had the authority to write tickets, then it would also be “due process” for that person.

Smith said the compliance officer, if the job description being discussed was approved, would be able to check on, multiple things in one visit. For example, the compliance office could confirm a business license and conduct a fire inspection at the same time.

Phasing in some aspects of the job, such as fire inspections was also discussed.

“We have zero happening right now. We’re going to have someone, who can’t get all the work done, but that is better than zero, ” Council member Jeffrey Price said.

Agee agreed that the city needed to move forward to at least start enforcement of nuisance and other compliance regulations.

Hiring an assistant later on to take care of the issues like tall grass violations was mentioned. Wilkson said if two people were needed the city should go ahead and hire them at the same time

Possible salary ranges were discussed.