Greensboro Responds To Lost Code Violation Records, Inspectors Actions

6:48 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Greensboro city leaders are not excusing a code enforcement mistake that's revealed a major oversight problem at the city department.

The issue came to light after city residents kept pushing council members to look into code violations in their neighborhoods.

A closer look revealed the enforcement agency had more serious problems: inspectors misplaced 321 cases of violations and some never followed-up to make sure the violations they wrote against landlords and homeowners were ever corrected.

City Councilman Zack Matheny says the problem is unacceptable and a terrible mistake, not only by the code enforcement division, but all city leaders.

"It's a situation that affects a lot of people, you're talking hundreds of cases which means in turn hundreds of citizens so, we've got to fix it," Matheny said. "We are here to serve the citizens of Greensboro and we cannot afford things of this nature, whether it's one or hundreds, slip through the cracks."

Matheny says the council has been looking into the issue for weeks now.

The city blames part of the issue on a computer system upgrade last year. Employees in the code enforcement division didn't confirm all the files transferred over; and it turns out some files were lost in that process. 

Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan also agrees there are some personnel issues that need to be addressed as well as the code enforcement division's protocols. She explains she's glad the problem has been identified, which now gives the city a chance to rectify it.

"I'm not embarrassed. I'm angry," Vaughan said when asked about the issue. "I'm angry that people have been living under these conditions. " 

City Manager Denise Turner Roth says the department didn't live up to its duties and her work now involves coming up with a plan for the council and public to assure them this will never happen again.

"We have to improve and make sure that everyone knows that we're fully committed to housing and housing quality and we can only demonstrate that by first having a strong plan and secondly following it through," said Roth.

While she continues to review the case, Roth points out the 321 cases have been recovered. Out of those cases, 92 have been corrected and closed, 73 have now been assigned to inspectors to follow up on, and 14 of the cases will go to the Minimum Housing Commission.

There are 141 others left, now in the new system, but with no clear action. There could be a decision by November 7th , in time for Roth's briefing of the city council.

News 2 will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest updates.

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