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City code enforcers: Gatsas checks the checkers

July 23. 2013 5:28PM

There is no perfect solution to the problem of city code enforcement officers being overzealous in their duties, but Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas has come up with a decent temporary fix.

Just before Independence Day, a city code enforcement officer ordered KC’s Rib Shack on the West Side to shut down its outdoor tiki bar. The officer cited a dozen code violations, many of them minor. The most serious were some potential fire hazards. KC’s owner Kevin Cornish and West Side Alderman Phil Greazzo called the action unnecessary and overly burdensome. They were right that the city should have worked with KC’s to fix the problems quickly while letting the tiki bar remain open. If the safety hazards were so great that they warranted immediate closure of the bar area, then why did the inspector wait a week after his inspection to order the bar closed?

Greazzo says this is a case of a bureaucrat trying to teach a business owner a lesson. Maybe, but it’s not as though code enforcement officers can just ignore code violations. We pay them to enforce the regulations our elected representatives write.

Gatsas has ordered department heads to sign off on any immediate closure of a business for code violations. That is a good temporary solution while aldermen review city regulations to see if they can be made less burdensome and their enforcement less adversarial.


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