A year ago the Orchard Park Town Board cut David K. Jensen’s code enforcement position to part time. Tuesday it sent him a termination letter, and Wednesday night it hired a new full-time code enforcement officer.
Jensen, who has been doing fire inspections for the town since 2003, said he’s disappointed, and he’s not going quietly.
“I’m trying to get this job back,” he said. “I am still trying to find out why I have the problem I have right now.”
Jensen said his record is clean, but he thinks his problems with the town date back to last fall, when he was president of the White Collar Unit, and he set up a meeting to try to interest non-union employees in being represented by the CSEA labor union. He scheduled the meeting just before the preliminary budget was released, then the budget came out and his position was reduced to part time.
The meeting was held a couple days after that, and no one showed up.
Town Board members said that Jensen’s union activities had nothing to do with the reduction in hours, that it was based on the reduced activity in the building inspector’s office.
So Jensen started the year as a part-time worker, which meant his position was not part of the union, and he had to step down as union president.
Then part way through the year, the board increased his hours to 40 per week, but the position was part-time, did not have benefits and was not in the union. The board also hired a part-time code enforcement officer this year.
He was hired to fill a part-time position of fire inspector in 2003, and was given a full-time appointment in 2010, on the condition he pass the Civil Service exam. But the exam was not given until this year.
Jensen passed the exam, but Town Board members said Thomas Minor, who was in the construction business, scored the highest. Minor was hired Wednesday night, and will have to take certification courses.
“As a person who built homes, he’s very aware of most of the building codes, because he’s had to deal with them,” Councilman David Kaczor said.
Jensen is out of a job Jan. 1. Kaczor and Councilman Eugene Majchrzak said it will be up to Building Inspector Andrew Geist to assign a code enforcement officer to perform fire inspections.
Jensen said he is tough but fair to every property owner.
“My job is to protect the firemen that have to come and fight the unwanted fire, my job is to protect the insurance companies, my job is to protect the people who live in the structure, or the people who are coming to the store,” he said.