Code enforcement lacks in Potsdam Village
Monday, October 15, 2012 - 2:22 pm

To the Editor:

Recent developments should show villagers that our code enforcement is either non-existent or a complete farce. In the past year, we have had three different code enforcement officers on a revolving door basis. It would appear that all three had one thing in common - a distrust and dislike of the current village government.

One in particular felt that he was let go because he challenged Clarkson University on some code violations or questions, and pointed out that three members on the village board are employed by that university. Interesting, to say the least.

Other than that, let me provide a concrete example of just where we are. There is a code against garbage cans being left on the street and not pulled back to the houses-something that is widely disregarded. I called the code enforcement office not long ago and talked to the interim officer who said he had no authority to stop it, and was swamped with other work. I made the suggestion that he simply tell folks that they were in violation, and maybe they would comply.

The young man was in his early 20’s, was himself a Clarkson graduate, and the next thing I heard was that he had resigned.

In other words, no one has been fully in charge of code enforcement for quite some time. No surprise --it has gone downhill ever since no- nonsense Herb Crump was in charge a number of years ago. Break the codes and you got a citation. Recently, the “Meadow Man of Elm Street” defied the grass-cutting ordinance and got away with it thanks to a couple of weak-kneed judges and no follow-up by the village.

Then came the current “Potty Man of Potsdam” and those ridiculous displays that shame all of us - something that other villages would pursue to a conclusion, while ours diddles, fiddles, and does nothing.

There is a great deal that needs doing, and I have little hope that it will be done by the current administration. Perhaps our police force should be in charge of code enforcement - certainly no one else is capable of it. Or, we could again consider village dissolution, but I have some serious reservations about some of the recent actions and leadership of the Potsdam Town Board.

Dick Hutchinson

Potsdam