Scribner named code enforcement officer

B y Dan King
After weeks of speculation about the position of code enforcement officer in Whitehall, the expected letter of resignation from John Ward officially made its way to Town Supervisor George Armstrong.
“I have received the letter of resignation from John Ward Jr. and I would like to entertain a motion to accept it.” Armstrong told the town board, last Wednesday.
Armstrong made the motion, which was seconded by Town Councilwoman Stephanie Safka, thus making Ward’s resignation official.
The town quickly found a replacement for Ward, as Vern Scribner was appointed to the position. The motion for this action was made by Armstrong and again seconded by Safka, with no discussion.
Scribner, who formerly served as town supervisor, town board member, code enforcement officer and a multitude of other positions within Whitehall government, was appointed to an immediate position.
“I did code enforcement way back in the day and I served until I took my town board seat and they told me I couldn’t do it anymore.” Scribner said, “It must have been close to 20 years.”
Scribner will be taking on a role that Armstrong previously described as a “thankless job that pays poorly.”
Until Scribner was appointed to this position, the police had been handing code violation issues over to either the county code office or village Zoning Officer Garry Bennett.
Scribner’s experience will be welcome with open arms, especially for a town that has been without an active code enforcement office since June 11, when Ward stormed out of a town board meeting and stated his resignation would be “forthcoming.”
“When I was doing code enforcement, we had junkyards that we had to get in compliance and it was a lot of work at first.” Scribner said.
However, Scribner was able to get the junkyards in compliance with code regulations and will not have to face those issues this time around.
As Armstrong put it, back when Ward originally said he would resign, this job now revolves around “keeping people safe.”
Due to the fact that Scribner was only recently hired, state standards for code enforcement officers do not require him to have 24 hours of in-service training from 2013 and will most likely grant an extension for him to complete his 2014 hours.
Edison Alban, the State Department’s public information officer said in an email, “In certain situations, a code enforcement official may be granted an extension of time to satisfy the annual in-service training requirement.”

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