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Salem Inks Deal With Peabody to Share Building Commissioner

Under the agreement, Salem and Peabody will be sharing a building commissioner for the immediate future.

Peabody is entering into an inter-municipal agreement with Salem that will mean the city's chief building inspector will provide services to Peabody for the immediate future.

Peabody is still without a permanent Building Commissioner since Kevin Goggin was asked to resign four months ago. Under this deal, Salem Inspectional Services Director Thomas St. Pierre would provide oversight, consultation and guidance to the Peabody department and fill in if extra coverage was needed.

Pierre would also respond to emergencies where the Building Commissioner's presence would be needed, such as in condemning or declaring structures unsafe, and may be asked to issue opinions on local zoning matters.

The day-to-day responsibilities would still be performed by Plumbing and Gas Inspector Arthur Pavlo, who was provisionally promoted to fill that lead role, following Goggin's departure.

The problem, however, is that neither Pavlo nor the city's other inspectors have the proper certification for the job, according to a draft of the agreement between Mayor Ted Bettencourt and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll.

Bettencourt says he only sees this agreement as a temporary measure until a new permanent hire can be made. He plans to advertise that position soon and hopes to have a new Building Commissioner this spring.

"I'm appreciative that the city of Salem is willing to assist us in this," he said.

The language of the agreement says it's "fiscally advantageous" for Peabody to contribute to the salary of a two-city commissioner versus immediately hiring a permanent replacement without a methodical candidate search.

There's also the benefit of encouraging current employees to acquire the necessary certification.

The agreement explains that St. Pierre will serve as director for both cities and will be paid $12,500 by Peabody for the duration of the deal.

The agreement is effective from Dec. 1, 2012 to Nov. 30, 2013, but does include a provision for it to be extended for two additional one-year terms. Either side can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice at any time.

St Pierre's extra duties will officially begin once the Peabody City Council approves his appointment as Building Commissioner. The council will at least receive that request from Bettencourt on Thursday, but may or may not put the matter into committee first.

Bettencourt said, however, he will ask councilors to approve the appointment that night.

He said he initially approached Driscoll about the agreement, as he was aware of the ongoing arrangement between Salem and Swampscott. That town's building inspector retired in 2010 and Pierre has since taken on the same type of role he will in Peabody for the same extra pay.

The recent agreement was signed Dec. 28 by Bettencourt and Driscoll and then submitted to the council on Jan. 18.

The plan was also endorsed by the Mass. Board of Building Regulations and Standards.

john January 25, 2013 at 06:02 PM
So, it sounds like StPierre gets more money and Salem gets less of his time. StPierre is the only one with proper certification? I would love to know what he is obligated to do under that certification. As a certified building inspector his responsiblity should be clearly outlined under that certification. How does this guy allow the transfer station to remain open to the public? Perhaps rather then doing his job,he does what he is told. What is the real reason Peabody can't fill this job in a timely fashion?
Don Nadeau January 25, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I did a similar service for a neighboring town once as a municipal dept head. Extra pay meant extra time - it was stipulated that I would not reduce my workload for my municipality. This arrangement should last only a few months, not a year or more, especially if Peabody conforms to BOCA.

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