Study Recommends Ways To Streamline GSO City Division

7:04 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- On the heels of a "disappointing" discovery that Greensboro Code Enforcement inspectors lost hundreds of documents, a new study further paints an unflattering picture of the division.

The Code Compliance Division is part of the Greensboro Planning and Community Development Department. Its job is to enforce the  zoning, nuisance and minimum housing code.

A new 43-page study, conducted by Budget and Evaluation, details what appears to be inefficiency and mismanagement in the division. The report reviews the department's procedures and compared it to other benchmark cities in North Carolina: Winston-Salem, Salisbury, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Durham.

Some of the highlights explain how it takes the city inspectors longer to do the same job than the benchmark cities. For example, in Greensboro it can take about 454 days, allowing several 30-day extensions, before inspectors make landlords comply with city code violations.

In other cities like Winston-Salem and Raleigh, the report says it takes just 20-30 days.

In Greensboro, inspectors wait to find all the owners of a property; then wait for all of them to respond before moving forward on a violation notice. Some of the benchmark cities just find one owner and start the job.

The report also reveals some waste of tax dollars.

Reviewers of the division's procedures point out Greensboro sends expensive certified mail for all violation notices, even small things like overgrown lots. Other benchmark cities reserve that for more serious cases like demolitions.

Reviewers note that the department could use a better computer system. The current one doesn't let inspectors put in significant aspects of violation cases and inspectors don't take photos of those violations early in the process.

The study points out inspectors in Greensboro are not proactive; they mostly only go out when they receive a complaint.

Reviewers also note what can be considered positives for the division: compared to benchmark cities, the Greensboro division spends less money per citizen, inspectors do well in recovering costs, staff members are cross-trained for different roles and they do more with few employees.

At the end report, reviewers gave several recommendations about improving the department; things they can do to increase accountability for inspectors, save time and money and help the public.

The city manager and the division head will discuss those recommendations at the Wednesday night city council meeting.

Here is a copy of the study


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