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Training gap leads to code officer shortage

CARIBOU, Maine – Aroostook County is experiencing a shortage of code enforcement officers and officials are looking to attract qualified persons to the profession.

Northern Maine Development Commission logo (Contributed image)

Northern Maine Development Commission logo (Contributed image)

“The lack of support from the state agencies to have trainings in Aroostook County has made it difficult to maintain professional certifications, especially in the building codes (MUBEC),” said Tony Levesque, president of the Aroostook Code Enforcement Organization (ACEO).

“Many CEOs are funded through fees and stipends only,” Levesque said. ”Many times just getting to a community and/or trainings is cost and time prohibitive. Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) and ACEO have been working to bring training to Aroostook County, and I believe that without these efforts there would be a greater shortage and other CEOs would be further behind in recertification efforts.”

A code enforcement officer is defined under Maine state law as a person employed by a municipality to enforce all enabling state laws and local ordinances in the following areas: shoreland zoning, land use regulation, internal plumbing, subsurface wastewater disposal and building standards. CEOs must be certified in each area for which they have responsibility within 12 months of their initial appointment date or of the date they assume responsibility for a given area.

Jay Kamm, senior planner at NMDC, said a potential CEO should be meticulous, organized and work well with people.

“You also have to have a good temperament,” Kamm added. “You are dealing with landowners on permitting systems, either through land use or building codes. So you need the technical knowledge but also the people skills.”

NMDC, in cooperation with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, offers code enforcement officer and plumbing inspector examinations in the Caribou office.

Exams are free of charge for the first three attempts. Testing requires a minimum of a three-day notice to set up a time. NMDC does not provide printed training materials but a computer is available for use during the exams. DECD grades all of the exams and notifies the CEO of the results.

For more information on becoming a CEO, contact Kamm at 493-5757 or by email at jkamm@nmdc.org.

 

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