KCBD Investigates: Code Enforcement wasting taxpayer dollars? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD Investigates: Code Enforcement wasting taxpayer dollars?


A former Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Lubbock claims the department is responsible for costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dave Smith was employed with the code enforcement from 2008 until 2013 and he says the department's so called "inefficiencies" and lack of productivity have resulted in "mismanagement."

"No one will know that we're paying employees to do one inspection per month when we have the capabilities of doing hundreds," said Smith.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 requested the official District Activity Reports documents, to see if the claims Smith made were true.

According the released documents, some code enforcement employees had reported less than 5 inspections in a week, where others reported hundreds. We asked the city's Code Enforcement Director Stuart Walker how activity level could vary so much among employees and how non-compliant inspections were dealt with. According to Walker, the reason for the variation in inspections from employee to employee is simply the size of the caseload for their particular job.

"Some of the inspectors only do housing cases, so their only jobs as registered code enforcement officers their only job is to initiate and follow through on cases of property maintenance," he says.

Smith claims that duties across the board take minimal time. Walker, however says that some inspections can take months, especially ones that require extensive research.

"I wouldn't say the department is inefficient," said Walker. "Our number one goal in the department is responding to requests for service for the public and I think we do that."

Smith feels that because of his criticisms of the department his work wasn't properly rewarded. Despite the number of inspections he personally completed, Smith said he was never considered for a supervisor position.

KCBD: "If you go above and beyond to do a good job in code enforcement, why would you be singled out?"

Dave: "Because I'm vocal on the management difficulties in the office."

KCBD: "You think it's a personal thing?

Dave: "Yes ma'am. If they get me out of the office no one will file these grievances."

Smith raised his concerns 3 years ago to Mayor Glen Robertson before he was elected as mayor. At the time, Robertson was running as City Councilman for District 1.

"I was very impressed by his absolute care and compassion for that neighborhood," said Robertson. "So we sat down and visited and we shared a lot about the issues that he has with the abandoned structures the problems that we had at Arnett Benson."

Recently, Smith wrote a letter to Mayor Robertson regarding the so called "inefficiencies." In the email, Smith quoted Robertson using the term "criminal" to describe the situations in that north Lubbock neighborhood.

"I did state that it is criminal and I still think it is criminal," said Mayor Robertson. "The fact that we've got abandoned structures and we've got drug dealers illegally living in a residence next to one that's got children in it."

When asked if this would be an example of tax payer fraud, Robertson responded,

"I don't have enough information to even weigh in on it; I have to as Mayor respect a line that I never cross from being a policy maker to micro-managing the city department. That is not my job as an elected official."

Walker said that the department has identified some "deficiencies" and that they are in the process of rewriting their standard departmental procedures. Walker says their main goal to be a structured training program for new and recent hires.

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