City talks on hiring more code enforcement officers

Published 2:54 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

The Selma City Council members got a little off topic during their discussion at Thursday’s work session, but their topic seemed to be about one of the most talked about requests they get in their perspective wards — code enforcement citations.

When Selma municipal court judge Prince Chestnut addressed the council about issues that were facing him and the courts Thursday, one councilmember asked him about how often he deals with code enforcement citation cases and the discussion took off from there.

“They are kind of thrown in with the other cases,” Chestnut told the council when asked if there was something special done with the environmental code enforcement cases. “We don’t have a substantial amount of them at the present time but every now and then if we have enough of those cases we will try to set up a special setting for them.”

Council members chimed in following the statement that there were not a substantial amount of cases on the table presently. And after a discussion, Ward 1 Councilman Cecil Williamson requested that city attorney Jimmy Nunn add to the council agenda an ordinance that would allow the council to, “create two more positions in [the code enforcement department] and get all the people we need.”

One code enforcement officer is currently on leave for a sickness, but throughout the department, only one officer can actually issue citations.

“We can’t expect just one part time person to do all of the citations for a city of this size,” Williamson said.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Susan Keith said she gets constant calls from constituents about yards full of trash and cars parked in yards and in grass. She said her constituents are, “mad as fire about some places, so for the time they are expecting something to happen.”

Evans told the council that if the council wanted to, they should appropriate more money for new code enforcement positions due to the police department, “being stretched out with the numbers as it is.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be Tuesday, March 26 at 5 p.m.