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Retiring Building Commissioner Cataldo To Work Part-Time While Replacement Finishes State Training

Classes and Tests Currently on Hold Due to the Pandemic
by Connie Sartini
Town Manager Mark Haddad updated the Select Board on the progress of their plan to train current Building Inspector Bob Garside to take over as Building Commissioner when current Building Commissioner Ed Cataldo retires on September 8, 2020.
Haddad said, “The plan was to have Ed train Bob and for Bob to pass the State Test to become a certified Building Commissioner.” According to Haddad, “The training has gone very well. Bob has done a great job learning and performing the duties of Local Building Inspector. As a matter of fact, the town has been very fortunate to have Bob on board during this pandemic. He has performed his duties extremely well and at a very high level.”
     However, Haddad advised, “While the pandemic has allowed Bob to show his abilities, it has also hampered his ability to become a certified Building Commissioner. There are three tests that Bob needs to pass to become certified. When appointed in March, Bob immediately began studying and preparing for the tests. He passed the first test easily and was preparing to take courses for the next two sections. Unfortunately, through no fault of Bob, the pandemic has put all of that on hold and classes have not been available and testing has not been scheduled. Therefore, Bob will not be able to become certified by Ed's retirement date. There is no fault and it is out of the town’s hands.”
     He pointed out that with Cataldo still planning on retiring September 8, 2020, Garside will be limited to performing inspections and managing the Department. Based on this, Haddad said he approached Cataldo, and asked him whether after his retirement, he would be willing to issue occupancy permits and perform other functions that only a certified Building Commissioner could do, and receive a monthly stipend for this. Haddad said he was very appreciative that Cataldo said that he is willing to do this for the town.
     Haddad asked the Board to approve a monthly stipend for Cataldo of $1200 per month ($300 per week) for a period of four months, from September through December 31 for a total cost of $4,800. Haddad added that because this is the result of COVID-19, it will be paid out of the CARES fund and does not have an impact on the budget.
     He stressed that he was hopeful that the state-level testing will resume and that Garside can continue his training and pass the tests. If the state does not make this available by December 31, the Select Board will have to re-visit the issue.
     Select Board member Becky Pine stated that she thought, “$1200 was overpaying for occupancy permits. I am comfortable paying $150 per permit or reduce the amount to $1,000.”
     Haddad replied, “This is an issue of supply and demand. If we bring in a consultant, they would make more and Cataldo is also training Garside.”
     Finance Committee Chairman Bud Robertson pointed out, “We have someone really skilled to help us. It’s not worth it to try to take him down. I want him to be happy on the team. This is not where I would try to save money.”
     Selectman Josh Degen agreed, saying, “We need a Building Commissioner now. Trying to pinch back is a slap in the face. I support this.” The Select Board then voted to support the recommendation of the Town Manager and the stipend for the Building Commissioners will be set at $1200 per month through the end of December.
     He added, “Ed has been impressed with the way Bob has approached and learned the job. I think the Select Board witnessed this at your last meeting when Bob came before the Board seeking increases in our fees. Bob is off to a great start.”
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