Amount of code citations given disappoint councilPublished 10:46pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Ward 1 Selma City Councilman Dr. Cecil Williamson pointed out several numbers in the code enforcement report given to the council at Tuesday’s meeting. Williamson addressed Selma Mayor George Evans, asking why in a six-month period only 12 code enforcement citations were written, and of those 12, only four were accepted and found to be legitimate.
According to the report given to the council by the code enforcement office, these four citations issued were from a list of 334 complaints.
“There is no wonder the city is a mess,” Williamson said. “What are they doing over there [in code enforcement]?”
Following the meeting, Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said he was unsure of where those numbers came from, because his office reported the amount of citations issued in the last five-month period to be more than 250. Council members still said these numbers were disappointing with the amount of trash and other violations they see on a daily basis throughout their perspective wards.
“[Those numbers] hit us dead in the face tonight,” Council president Corey Bowie said, adding he thought the council needed to see a visual representation of what work was being done in the code enforcement department. “Those numbers, they were alarming and we are going to have to be more proactive now.”
Bowie said there is not one person to blame, but the entire city government needs to come up with a better, more comprehensive plan so that they will not have to, “revert back to these dismal numbers again,” Bowie said.
Only police officers with arresting authority can issue citations, while those in the code enforcement office at city hall work to list all of the citations and take complaints. Evans and Bowie have explained how the one officer at the Selma Police Department who is assigned to citations on a regular basis, wears many different hats as a resource officer and director over the PALS program in Selma.
Council members such as Williamson have questioned why in a city with the need for so many code citations, only one officer is assigned the task to cite them.
The solution, Evans said, is to bring on retired officers to help issue the citations.
“The intent is to hire some police officers who are retired because they are the only ones who can write citations,” Evans said. “We also have police officers who are on board who maybe who have had some injuries and can’t get out there on the beat — they are also going to write citations.”
The city has been on a hiring freeze, but Evans said for positions that are preapproved they could be brought on to payroll.