City officials should lead by example. Maura Kennedy, director of the city Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections, is not doing that.
Ms. Kennedy’s Stanton Heights home has been cited for a code violation related to a leaning picket fence, which a neighbor claims is blocking his stairwell. The violation did not develop overnight. Inspectors in Ms. Kennedy’s department visited the home three times between August and October, and the citation was filed because the problem still hadn’t been fixed. The home, which Ms. Kennedy shares with her partner, is under renovation.
Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, said the citation shows the fairness of the system — even the home of the person in charge of code enforcement must meet the standards or else. While it is reassuring to know that a city official who flouts the rules will be held accountable — one cannot say as much about officials in every jurisdiction — that does not make Ms. Kennedy’s case any less concerning.
After all, she is the person in the city primarily responsible for enforcing the law in question. There is a hint of “do as I say, not as I do” here. Other property owners may wonder how important it is for them to toe the line when Ms. Kennedy’s home is out of compliance. If they want others to respect the law, city officials must do the same. Adherence to code enforcement is a must at a time of rapid development, which the city is experiencing now.
Mr. McNulty said Ms. Kennedy is committed to fixing the fence. She should do so quickly.
It’s troubling that the violation has persisted so long. The problem puts the neighbor in a predicament, too. It must be awkward to be arguing with the city’s top code enforcer over a code-enforcement problem at her home. In more ways than one, Ms. Kennedy needs to put her house in order.