The governing body approved a Plumbing Sub-Code Official/Plumbing Inspector at the December 16th Mayor & Council meeting by a majority vote. Resolution #337-15 appointed Ben Scotti from Cranford to the part-time position effective January 4, 2016 at the annual salary of $9,157.92. Mr. Scotti was appointed as a part-time ‘as needed’ Plumbing Inspector for Kenilworth in March of this year.
A plumbing inspector is responsible for administering the plumbing sub-code of the State Uniform Construction Code as well as inspecting and/or supervising the inspection of plumbing work in construction projects underway to ensure that compliance with plans and specifications are in accord with the State Uniform Construction Code. The officer also does related work as required for the municipality.
The resolution was pulled from the consent agenda by Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey. Resolutions are usually voted on as a whole and individual ones are pulled if there is going to be discussion or at least one dissent vote. The councilwoman stated, “Mr. Mayor, I did not see this on the preliminary agenda and I would just like some discussion as to why this person is qualified.”
Mayor Carl Hokanson responded, “He comes highly qualified through recommendations throughout the area from the professionals that we already have working for us. He’s a local resident. He’s right there for us when we need him.”
The mayor added that the appointment was discussed with the chair of the committee, First Ward Councilman Eugene Meola, and he brought if forward today to be appointed.
“So we have talked to his past employers, so on and so forth?”, asked the councilwoman.
“Yep,” the mayor answered.
“For the record it wasn’t an easy decision,” interjected Councilman Meola, “I thought about it and I considered that he’s a local man and that he came highly recommended. [I] came up with the decision that I hope that I was correct and only time will tell. I will give him the trial and I wish the man whose presently doing it good luck in the future.”
“Well I have to say I’ve heard no complaints,” continued the councilwoman, “Nobody’s told me any complaints about the current person and you know we’ve sort of have done that with other people when the person who’s filling in has done has worked out well we’ve kept them.”
Councilwoman Storey was apparently talking about the current temporary Plumbing Sub-Code Official/Inspector from Nutley. Mr. McMillan has been filling in for Angelo Rossi who is the Borough Plumbing Inspector but has been on medical leave of absence since the beginning of the year. The annual salary rate for Mr. McMillan was $8,978.36. Ben Scotti will have a rate that is $179.56 more than the current salary position, a 2% increase.
The resolution was passed by a 4-2 vote with Councilwoman Storey and 4th Ward Councilman Mohamed ‘Gino’ Elmarassy voting against the appointment.
After the meeting, Councilman Elmarassy was approached for a comment as to his reason(s) for his vote since he offered none while on the dais. He stated, “Because it is no.”
When asked for further clarification, the councilman repeated the statement and walked away. It should be noted that, almost without exception, Councilman Elmarassy has voted ‘no’ whenever the councilwoman has voted in the negative. He has never given a public reason for voting against a resolution.