Work misrepresented; public misinformed

Dear Editor:

I’m writing regarding the firing of the East Liverpool housing inspectors and the article written about it in this paper. I am one of the two let go.

Being an “at will” employee, I understand that my position can be terminated for any reason. I am fine with that. However I am not fine with misrepresentation of my work performance, or misinformation concerning how events took place.

I was not fired by the planning director, my boss. I was fired by the mayor.

There was never an instance where I was reprimanded for my job performance by my direct supervisor — the planning director — or the mayor. I was approached by a councilman about his unhappiness about an inspection I performed in his neighborhood, and I directed it to the attention of my supervisor. To my understanding, it was addressed.

There were discussions within our department, and a meeting scheduled, regarding the idea of involving the health department, and to begin work on addressing the loopholes and weaknesses in the current system. It was known that I was completely onboard with this approach and looking forward to being part of it. Never was it discussed that my position was in jeopardy.

Regarding the meth lab house. This was not my inspection, but these inspections are not done by surprise, so any evidence would have obviously been hidden. As far as the condition of any rental property, landlords are given 30 days to address violations. That house still had two weeks until it would be reinspected. I spoke to a local police officer familiar with drug enforcement, and he informed me that a meth lab can be put up, or taken down, in five minutes, and that we would have no idea what to look for anyway. I was also informed that this house was being watched for three months prior to its inspection. Why would you not communicate this to our department? An officer could have been present during this inspection, and known what to look for — that type of training is not part of our job. The article also states that the house was raided two weeks after an inspection. As stated before, there is plenty of time to establish a lab. This seems to be information those in City Hall should understand.

I was doing my job using the authority at my disposal. Other situations that are beyond my scope should not be given as a reason for my dismissal. No formal or informal warnings were ever given to us by anybody at City Hall. According to the head of the Planning Department, we were doing a great job.

I certainly wish the housing inspection process good luck in the future. Better communication and a little honesty in City Hall would go a long way to improve it.

Tom Beagle

East Liverpool