EDEN — The town of Eden and the town of Hamburg have entered into a new inter-municipal agreement for mutual aid services for code enforcement officers.
The agreement was approved in order to provide the town of Eden with coverage for building inspectors and code enforcement officers, should the need ever become a reality. Town of Eden Attorney William Trask added that, for the need to arise, it would have to be an emergency situation.
“I just want to say that this inter-municipal agreement is intended to be used in extremely rare and unavoidable situations,” Trask said. “I’m speaking of situations in which the town of Eden reaches out to Hamburg for assistance.
The fact that the code enforcement officer position in the town of Eden has been reduced from a full-time position to a part-time position is why I’m stating that, because if this inter-municipal agreement is used in any situation other than a rare and unavoidable circumstance, basically an emergency situation, the town could be facing scrutiny, and properly so, from Erie County personnel. It’s not to be used as a subterfuge for justifying a part-time position in our town.”
The agreement states that it is on an “as needed” basis and that code enforcement officer services are only to be performed when requested by an authorized representative of the town. Furthermore, each town has the right to refuse a request for service, if it is determined the code enforcement officer is unavailable for any reason.
Resident Phil Muck asked if, when the inter-municipal agreement is used, would the Hamburg code enforcement officer become an employee of the town of Eden, and therefore be responsible for his travel to Eden. He further asked how the person would be paid and under what liability insurance they would be covered.
“The inter-municipal agreement provides that we would reimburse the town of Hamburg for their cost,” Trask replied. “The employee remains an employee of the town of Hamburg, covered under their worker’s comp insurance, and the same thing would happen if our code enforcement officer were to be needed in Hamburg, for some reason.”
“I can tell you that, a few years ago, when our CEO was full-time, we realized that, at one point, when there was a bereavement in his family, we had no backup, we had no one to cover his position,” explained Deputy Supervisor Mary Lou Pew.
“Back then, we were under the impression that the state would provide the backup, but we found out that was not the case. The only way that we could have a backup code enforcement officer that would be certified would be if we entered into an inter-municipal agreement, so that is what sparked our pursuit of this. It wasn’t an extended period of time, but it did happen,” Trask noted.
“If our code enforcement officer were to have a medical event that takes him out of service for a period of time, this agreement now gives us an available option,” Trask said.
The agreement can also be cancelled on 90 days written advance notice.