In addition to the official presentation at MACE’s 2013 Annual Meeting, MACE president Art Genaci made another one at a recent City Council meeting and gave Novy the much deserved recognition in front of city officials, his peers and local residents.
The Public Works Department, which includes the Code Enforcement Division, also received accolades from the Hazelwood City Council for a job well done in clearing the storm debris from streets and right-aways after the EF2 tornado hit on April 10. The Council approved the issuance of a proclamation declaring the week of May 19 through May 25 as Public Works Week in the City of Hazelwood.
Since the tornado storm on April 10, Hazelwood’s public works crews have logged in more than 2,136.5 hours and cleared over 14,000 cubic yards of storm and construction debris in order to help get things back to normal for the affected residents. Although Hazelwood’s public works department took the lead and did most of the work, other area public works crews from the following communities answered the City’s call for help and provided much needed assistance: Bellefontaine Neighbors; Berkeley; Black Jack; Bridgeton; Ferguson; Florissant; Ladue; Normandy; Overland; Pine Lawn; St. Ann; St. Louis County; Sunset Hills; and Vinita Park.
The Public Works Week proclamation calls attention to the importance of public works to our everyday lives: planning; building; managing and operating the infrastructure of our local community; and improving the quality of life for residents. We are able to have safe homes and businesses, well maintained roads, beautiful parks, and top-notch recreational facilities “Because of Public Works…” which is the national theme for 2013.
Getting back to Novy’s story, in addition to being a Hazelwood resident, he has been working as a code enforcement officer for the city for about 10 years. Prior to this promotion, he was a part-time Parks and Recreation Division employee for nearly three years. When a job opened up in the code department, Pat McSheehy asked him if he was interested in taking it and Novy accepted.
“When the opportunity arose, I hired Joe as a City code enforcement officer and I have yet to regret it almost 10 years later,” Hazelwood code administrator Pat McSheehy said. “Joe is an intelligent, extremely honest and hard-working man who takes pride in his work. His commitment to city code enforcement has earned him great success at his job.”
Novy is the type of person who takes pride in how his neighborhood looks because it can affect his property value as a homeowner. Prior to becoming a code enforcement officer, Novy would come up to City Hall and report unfavorable conditions and violations, and bring photos as proof. He would demand that something be done about them through the meetings he had with city management. When McSheehy offered him the job as a code enforcement officer, he told Novy, “Now you will see how the other side deals with these issues.”
McSheehy gives him credit for many ideas that have been incorporated into the City’s code enforcement procedures for the benefit of the process. Novy believes Hazelwood has a pretty good code department. “We do a lot more than most municipalities. We take our jobs seriously and keep on top of things in order to make the City of Hazelwood a viable, respectable community to live in,” Novy added.
In addition to checking if residents’ grass is too tall or a house needs a paint job, Hazelwood code enforcement officers also do resident occupancy inspections and building permit inspections. In situations involving commercial establishments being built or occupied, the Hazelwood Fire Department provides inspectors to do fire safety inspections. Other violations Hazelwood code enforcement officers look for during their patrols include the following: trash and litter; derelict/unlicensed vehicles; gutters falling off houses; paint jobs; properties deemed unfit to live in; illegal signs; and homes without electric, gas, and water.
In 2009, Hazelwood was the first municipality in the St. Louis area to partner with Information Technologies, Inc., in developing a code enforcement module that could be integrated with the City’s other public safety software applications to help ensure code compliance and department productivity. It gave code enforcement officers the ability to complete their work out in the field. They have access to “real time” information on any project using wireless technology.
“When we went to using laptop computers in our cars, it helped us tremendously. It took away a lot of the report writing that was time consuming and made the process more efficient and streamlined,” Novy said.
According to McSheehy, “From an employee standpoint, Joe is the best code enforcement officer I have ever hired. I’m honored to have him as an employee and friend. I’m glad to see this honor bestowed on him.”
During his acceptance speech, Novy made this statement: “I would like to accept this award on behalf of the other code enforcement officers I work with on a daily basis. Like police officers and firefighters, anytime you get a kudo, it goes to everybody. Because it doesn’t just take one person. It takes the coordinated effort of many people to get the job done right.”