NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 17, 2014

Committee to help pick next building inspector

SALISBURY — Embattled building inspector David Lovering left his post only last Friday, but plans are already in the works to pick his replacement.

Harrington told the Board of Selectmen that a search is underway for the new building inspector, with the intent of having someone on board by the beginning of June. The town is looking for qualified candidates who understand the building codes and have the necessary certifications for the job that pays roughly $70,000 a year.

Harrington is pulling together a selection committee to assist him in interviewing candidates. The committee will include himself, human resource head Christine Lindberg, the town’s fire inspector, another department head, and one or two selectmen, who have yet to be named.

The decision to form a committee to choose the new inspector may relate to the controversy that surrounded Lovering while he was with Salisbury. Although no one challenged Lovering’s knowledge of the building and zoning codes he enforced or his willingness to apply them to everyone equally, there were complaints about his enforcement style.

Lovering’s strict adherence to the state building and town zoning regulations ran afoul of some local contractors, residents and businesses owners who brought their complaints about him to selectmen. Over his years with Salisbury, those complaints finally resulted in Harrington’s letting Lovering go, although he wrote a complimentary reference for him when he left.

Harrington had long said that one of the problems Lovering had was that he enforced rules and regulations that had never been enforced in town prior to his arrival.

Although on the books, in years past, Harrington has said, Salisbury’s inspectors were known to look the other way, especially for those who had influence.

Lovering didn’t subscribe to that tradition and some said he had an abrupt communication style.

Although Harrington defended him for years, the outcry eventually grew to be too much, and in March Harrington told Lovering he was going to be terminated.

According to local real estate broker Tom Saab, who was one of Lovering’s harshest critics, the town needs to find a building inspector like Newbury’s Sam Gosslin, who knows the building codes and “shows love” while enforcing it.

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