By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA The Board of Trustees unanimously accepted a letter of resignation from shared code officer Peter Devine, which was effective Aug. 27, just seven days after he was appointed.
Mayor James Hidy said the fire department will take over Devine’s former duties.
“We’ve got four or five guys [at the fire department] that can do the job,” Hidy said, adding that Devine is still the town’s code enforcement official.
In the paragraph-long letter, Devine said the village is still using the fire department as the lead code office when he says officials told him the situation would be the opposite.
At the August 20 board meeting when Devine was hired, the trustees debated with the fire department for over an hour about who would run the department.
“You stated to me that you knew the fire department could handle all of the code work in the village without another code officer,” Devine wrote.
He was originally hired as a joint code officer shared with the town and village, performing 15 hours of work each week for each body at a rate of $16, which would have risent to $19 per hour after he completed state training.
Trustee Tim Ahfeld and Councilman Charles Raiti had drafted an intermunicipal agreement stating the code officer would direct the fire department to assist with fire and safety inspections, but at the August 20 meeting Mayor James Hidy said he wanted the roles reversed.
“As a member of management, I can’t have a part-time guy managing a department,” Hidy said at the time.
Massena Fire Department Chief Ken McGowan was concerned that firefighters would be in a double-bind in the event they were directed to perform both fire and code duties.
“It’s an extra layer of supervision,” McGowan said on August 20.
They wound up compromising to slightly alter the document’s language – the new version will read that the code office is to coordinate with the permanent firefighters, rather than the code officer is to direct the firefighters.