Penn Hills residents request hiring of fire marshal/code inspector position

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

After creating a new position in the municipality's embattled code enforcement department, Penn Hills officials have yet to hire someone to fill it.

Two residents addressed council at its May 5 meeting to question why the newly created “fire marshal/chief code inspector” position had not been filled.

“What's the holdup?” Donald Sanker said. “You know and I know that once the summer months are here, code enforcement is going to be extremely busy with complaints.”

Municipal Manager Moe Rayan said the delay in hiring was due in part to pending litigation by two code enforcement employees who were fired in 2012. Rayan said he plans to advertise for the position by this week, and will look to start the hiring process.

McLaughlin, who has met and spoken with Rayan multiple times about the position, said “this is the first time, tonight, that I've heard you say the position wasn't being filled because of litigation.”

Rayan also said that new hires are not generally made until mid-year.

“We wait for revenues to come in and things like that,” Rayan said.

The municipality's most recent new hire was a group of police officers in September 2013.

Resident Mickey O'Connor, a fixture at council meetings, said he sees the lack of proper code enforcement when he drives around town.

“This department is not out writing tickets to properties,” O'Connor said.

“Wilkins, Verona, they don't have this problem. They write tickets constantly. Our people should be out there, citing properties.

“Don't send them a letter; send them a ticket,” he said.

McLaughlin agreed.

“We are in dire need of more support for our code enforcement department,” she said.

McLaughlin asked that council consider including a provision in the advertisement requiring proficiency with both the code-enforcement software, used to catalog citizen complaints, and the type of data-based technology that can aid the department in tracking violations and trends.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

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