Bay St. Louis Loses Another Building Official - - The News for South Mississippi

Bay St. Louis Loses Another Building Official

The Bay St. Louis building permit office has lost another key member. The acting city building official resigned Friday for a higher paying job in Pascagoula. You may recall the city's long time building official Bill Carigee resigned a few months ago amid controversy. All total the department has lost eight people in the past six months.

The question now is, what impact will the losses in the department have on residents who are trying to rebuild their lives and homes?

On average, 15 permit applications a day come into the Bay St. Louis Building permit office. So far, 182 have come in this January.

"It's pretty busy around here a lot of times," said Josh Hayes, who works as a plan reviewer and building inspector.

When fully staffed, the department employs 12 people. The office is currently functioning with only eight workers.

"It's a little bit of more waiting time on the plan review process because of the flow of houses coming in. As far as inspections and people coming through the door and asking questions, we're keeping up with that and we're giving everybody the information they need," Hayes said.

A lack of workers means heavier work loads and many in the department are wearing two or three different hats.

Director of Administration Buz Olsen said, "The guys are staying busy there working from 7am to 4pm with what little breaks they can get and trying to stay on top of the people's needs."

"It's not going that bad right now, we're keeping up with it," Hayes said.

"We've also had an offer from the County Building Office to lend assistance to us which, certainly, we've taken advantage of," Olsen said.

Meanwhile, the search is on to replace those who have left the Bay's Building Department.

"We've got some candidates out there that we're looking at for the building official, which is a very important job to fill right now," Olsen said.

But Olsen admits, the departures could not have come at a worse time.

"I want to assure the public that though we maybe short a couple of inspectors, that's not going to lack in the quality and the timeliness of inspections. People are stressful and they want to get back into their homes and we don't want to be an impedance to that," Olsen said.

One other note, the department recently received some good news. It may be able to hire additional staffers through a grant from the Win Job Center.

By Al Showers

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