Local builders and homeowners may see a new face when they call on the Grand Haven Township building department for services.
The Township Board this week approved hiring Jeffrey Legard to fill the building inspector position left open after the recent death of building official Barton Lucas. The motion passed 6-1, with Trustee David Gignac voting against the hire.
“Jeff meets all the criteria for the position and we are confident he has all the hard and soft skills we are looking for in a successful employee,” Andrea Dumbrell, the township human resources director, said to the board during a presentation on the hiring process.
In September, Dumbrell spoke to the board about hiring a building inspector to learn from and work alongside building official Scott Corbat. Board members at the time were split on whether to proceed with hiring a new inspector or contract with third-party services. A motion was approved 4-3 to research contracting for third-party inspections.
“As a result of that motion from the board, we contacted four building inspection companies and started setting up meetings with those who were interested,” Dumbrell said.
Companies contacted include Michigan Township Services in Allegan and Muskegon, Professional Code Inspections of Michigan, and SAFEbuilt.
According to Dumbrell, Michigan Township Services in Allegan said the township is too far out of range, and its Muskegon office wouldn’t have the manpower to have one person serving only Grand Haven Township.
Professional Code Inspections of Michigan told Dumbrell that the proposed model of a contracted service working under Corbat’s supervision would not work with their service model, but they did offer contracting with the township if needed for plumbing, mechanical or electrical inspections. The company said they also would work with the township if all contracted building services were required.
SAFEbuilt would tailor its services to the township, Dumbrell said; however, the tentative costs of service would be $73 per hour for 40 hours a week. This would total $151,840 a year, roughly 50 percent higher than the cost of hiring an inspector in-house, she said.
While speaking with local contracting services, Dumbrell said she also was working on the interview process with other staff, Board of Appeals members and local builders.
“Sept. 19 was the first round of interviews,” she said, noting the interviewing team worked together to determine what qualities they wanted a candidate to have. Qualities included being flexible, reasonable, open-minded, having great listening and people skills, an ability to replicate Corbat’s attitude, and an ability to train with and learn from Corbat.
“After two rounds of interviews, the panel made an unanimous decision to select Jeffrey Legard for the open position,” Dumbrell said. “The panel was impressed with his experience.”
Gignac said the interview process was rushed, and voted against the motion to hire Legard effective immediately.
“I sit on the Personnel Committee,” Gignac said. “I felt this process didn’t follow the procedures.”