Log in Subscribe

Code Enforcement Split in Department Reorganization

BRADENTON – In a special meeting Tuesday, directors from the county departments of Development Services and Community and Veteran Services provided commissioners with presentations on the reorganization of each department.

Development Services is the renamed and reorganized former Department of Building and Development Services. Department Director Courtney De Pol was appointed to the position of department director in January of this year. Since her appointment, De Pol shared in Tuesday’s meeting, the department has gone from 17 position vacancies to a current vacancy count of only five.

Under its new leadership and following the release of an IG report revealing favoritism and misconduct in former Building and Development Services’ division of code enforcement, County Administrator Scott Hopes announced a "rebranding" and reconfiguring of the department. In part, the reorganizational efforts were intended to streamline and correct management inadequacies within the department to assure past identified misconduct would not be repeated.

Some of the strategic reorganization of Development Services included the removal of the division of Code Enforcement from the department, placing it under the county’s Public Safety Department.

In the special meeting, Director De Pol detailed a newly created division of "Code Enhancement." Created in April of this year, De Pol told the board that one of the functions of the Code Enhancement Division will be to focus on violations of land-use and development codes, building codes, unsafe structures, demolitions, as well as addressing violations related to unlicensed contractors. Code Enforcement, now functioning as a division of Public Safety, will focus only on property maintenance issues in the community, such as overgrown grass, collection of trash, and other nuisance maintenance violations.

Despite the county previously announcing that the former Code Enforcement and its employees would be removed from the Department of Building and Development Services, it appeared in Tuesday’s presentation that rather than moving the entire division and its oversight responsibilities, the division itself was divided between both departments–Development Services and Public Safety.
Previously, both property maintenance code issues, as well as land-use and development issues, were oversight responsibilities of the former Code Enforcement Division when it existed under the former Building and Development Services Department. The newly created Code Enhancement Division will remain under the Department of Development Services and will be led by county Code Enforcement Chief Jeffery Bowman.

Bowman was one of six employees who were placed on administrative leave after a whistle-blower complaint initiated the Inspector General to investigate several allegations of misconduct relating to a Myakka site which was being developed in preparation for use to host the Medieval Faire. While the director of the former Building and Development Services Department resigned his position, the remaining five employees returned to roles at the county.

Many of the code enforcement issues relating to the Medieval Faire site centered around land-use codes, rather than property maintenance codes.

Aside from the creation of the Division of Code Enhancement, other changes were announced for the department during Tuesday’s meeting. Changes relating to streamlining Development Services and its divisions are expected to improve its function while providing more efficiency. In the future, the department is looking forward to the implementation of a zoning, permitting, and planning portal, website enhancements, and additional tools to improve public accessibility.

De Pol and her staff received praise from the commissioners on Tuesday for the department’s division teams and presentation of improved and streamlined operations within the department.

The board unanimously approved a motion to authorize the County Administrator to proceed with the continued reorganization and future incorporation of Public Works staff into the Development Services Department’s Planning Division. A future move intended to provide further efficiency to the department’s overall function.

The reception was similarly positive to the presentation provided by the Director of Community and Veteran Services, Lee Washington.

Community and Veterans Services has undergone reorganization that included the addition of the division of Community Development to the department. Community Development previously existed as a division under the Department of Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity, a department that no longer exists.

The Department of Community and Veteran Services is now home to community resource divisions that address matters of affordable housing, probation and pretrial services, criminal justice coordination, aging adult and children services, library services, and veteran services. Aging Adult and Children Services have been consolidated under the division of Human Services.

To review the PowerPoints presented in Tuesday’s special meeting detailing each department’s functions and reorganization, click the department titles below.

To replay the Manatee County Commission special meeting from May 3, click the video embedded below.


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.