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By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Building official seeks apology, contractors express support

 

October 22, 2020



WORLAND — Worland Building Official Randy Adams addressed the city council Tuesday night about what he called “gross misconduct” of some council members.

He said, “I am addressing this Council in regard to the gross misconduct, lack of leadership, lack of judgement and lack of integrity being demonstrated by some of our city council members. You are paid and elected to represent this city, its citizens and the qualified employees who have been entrusted to enforce and abide by its rules and regulations.

“My job is to interpret and enforce the adopted and officially sanctioned building codes. I was hired with the necessary qualifications to uphold and interpret these codes. They are put in place to ensure the safety of the community. However, because of what appears to be a personal agenda the public perception of my skills as a qualified Building Official are being scrutinized. Contractors are being sought out and questioned regarding my abilities. A complete disregard of my qualifications, and the relationships that I have built with these contractors through trust and respect are being judged. As an employee for the City of Worland I present myself with dignity and respect. I expect these same values from my superiors. There were no infractions ensued to warrant these actions. Had the chain of command been followed this would have been evident. A council member who disregards procedure and uses their position to satisfy an agenda is not the representation we elected.”

BACKGROUND

Issues regarding the building official were noted in a Sept. 1 and Sept. 15 council meeting.

During the Sept. 1 meeting, Wanda and Dennis Richard who live on South Fifth asked what could be done about neighboring property that is unsightly and becoming dilapidated and decreasing their property value.

Council member Mike Neufer said that after Wanda and Dennis Richard contacted him about their concerns regarding the neighboring property, he investigated and found a long paper trail “of trying to get a hold of the owners making them try and do something.” According to a paper trail, the owners were sent a letter in 2019.

Council member Mandy Horath at the time said, “Nothing has been done with a letter that we were supposed to follow-through with. Why are we wasting paper if we’re not going to follow through with it. That’s his job [referring to Building Official Randy Adams] to follow through it, it even says in there that the building inspector is supposed to follow-through with it. It looks like nothing was done after he mailed the letter.

Horath asked Clerk/Treasurer Tracy Glanz what Adams’ response was on why he had not followed through with it. She said no citations were issued.

“So, basically, we dropped it as a city,” Horath said.

In the Sept. 15 meeting, Mayor Jim Gill asked City Attorney to go over the chain of command regarding complaints. City Attorney Richins outlined the chain of command policy with the council stating, “If a council member has an issue with an employee or a department head then they go to the mayor. The mayor then talks to the department head and the department head then goes to the employee. This policy has been violated recently.”

Gill said at the Sept. 15 meeting, “It does not help public relations or employee morale to go around the mayor’s office and respective department heads when a council member visits with a given employee during business hours or seeks out the opinion of an employee with contractors or others in the community. This type of activity is beyond the pale and it needs to stop.”

Glanz said at the Sept. 15 meeting, “It has been brought to my attention that a council member has been talking to contractors about the Building Official and I really do not appreciate it. I do not think that’s fair to the employee. The employee is upset and morale is very low. This behavior shows a total lack of respect for that employee not to mention a lack of respect for the department head.”

Council member Mike Neufer stated in the Sept. 15 meeting regarding chain of command that one of the issues is that he is a former city employee and employees feel comfortable coming to him. He added that two council members also have family members who are city employees.

In his address to the council, Adams also spoke on what he felt was a conflict of interest with council members voting to prohibit overtime except for the police department due to budget concerns.

“A motion to approve or deny is in conflict when your personal monetary gain directly affects your personal financial stability. These circumstances require an unbiased decision, and you are required to refrain and excuse yourself from any and all decisions based on personal gain,” Adams said.

In a meeting on May 5, after hearing a report from the budget committee, the council moved to cease all unforeseeable overtime immediately due to budget concerns.

There was discussion that said overtime should only be for the health and safety of the citizens such as the police department. No exceptions were specifically noted in the motion.

He added, “We all have paid a high price for these misguided decisions. They have caused a strong discontent amongst employees and we strongly feel an apology by this council for the tactics used not only to jeopardize my position but the biased decisions made at the employees’ expense warrant an honest apology.”

CONTRACTORS

Five local contractors spoke on Adams’ behalf Tuesday night, stating they appreciate his quick response when they need something inspected so that their employees can get back to work. Other comments were that Adams understands the building code but will look at the intent of the code not just the letter of the law. They said Adams was easy to work with and was “down to earth.”

Council member Kreg Lombard said, “After thinking about it quite some time … I think it was way out of line for us to humiliate him in a public meeting.”

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business the council:

•Approved a resolution that would change the zoning table to allow inside self storage facility as a special exemption in the central business district.

•Approved a motion to sell 14 used golf cars for $1,300 each.

•Changed the meeting date for the Nov. 3 meeting to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4 due to the election being on Nov. 3 and the Worland Community Center being used as a polling place.

•Heard from engineering representative Mike Donnell that they are awaiting for paving weather window to complete the double-gutter project. He said they need 40 degree temperatures and rising during a day.

He and Public Works Superintendent Brian Burky said if the paving cannot be completed this fall they will fill in with gravel and maintain it through the winter.

•Renewed an agreement with Washakie County for winter maintenance of Washakie Avenue. The agreement this year is for two years.

In addition to incumbents, Ward 1 candidate Adam Martinez was in attendance.

 
 

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