• Last modified 770 days ago (June 15, 2022)


Marion outsources inspection

Staff writer

Immediately after voting to condemn a dilapidated house Monday evening, council members took up — for the third time —hiring a Herington employee to do property inspections for Marion two days a week.

Marion contractor Brad Seacat, who had spoken to city administrator Roger Holter about the possibility of being hired for the position, came to the meeting. His words contradicted things Holter told council members.

Holter has three times suggested paying for Herington’s newly hired inspector, James Masters, $1,800 a month to come to Marion two days a week.

Holter told council members that Seacat had asked for state retirement benefits.

Seacat responded that he merely had inquired whether he would be qualified for state retirement.

A longtime housing contractor, Seacat said courses he would need to pass to become certified as a building inspector were much the same as those he took to become a building contractor.

“I could be certified within a month’s time, and probably less,” Seacat said.

“You asked for KPERS,” mayor David Mayfield said.

Seacat repeated that he merely had inquired about it and said he thought there would be negotiations related to any hiring.

Council member Zach Collett said the city would have liability because Seacat was not already certified. He also complained that Seacat wanted $100 an hour.

Zach Strella, surrogate for city attorney Brian Bina, said he didn’t see any particular liability. He also said having police officers do property inspections and code enforcement took time away from policing.

Seacat said an inspection might take as little as five to 35 minutes to accomplish.

He told council members he was interested only in doing building inspections, not including property inspections to check whether the length of grass was in compliance with city ordinance.

“If you just need somebody to check the grass, you probably don’t need me,” Seacat said.

Herbel said she thought the city could work with Seacat and let the police department continue to monitor such conditions as overgrown lawns.

Collett disagreed, saying officer Duane McCarty had sent 18 letters to property owners last week.

“That’s a lot of time taken away from law enforcement,” Collett said.

Herbel asked whether the city could limit Seacat to $1,800 worth of time a month.

Seacat said with several new houses being built in Marion, he didn’t think his time could be limited that much.

Herbel suggested the discussion be tabled until after the hiring of a new city administrator.

The council is scheduled to interview finalists tonight.

The four finalists for city administrator were chosen after recruiter Don Osenbaugh, Derby, brought resumes for council members’ review during a Thursday executive session.

Interviewing the candidates is expected to done in four one-hour sessions, followed by another one-hour session for council members to discuss candidates and choose which one to engage in hiring negotiations.

“We can argue about it all night long,” Mayfield said before calling for a vote.

The measure to hire Masters passed on a split 3-2 vote with Mayfield, Collett, and councilman Chris Costello in favor and Herbel and councilman Jerry Kline opposed.

Costello was absent two weeks ago when the same motion failed on a 2-2 tie vote.

Last modified June 15, 2022