NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 2, 2013

Police report states building inspector's behavior nearly ended in arrest

(Continued)

Later on, Thomas visited the fire station and asked Trofatter why was Lovering was so unprofessional and borderline criminal.

“I honestly don’t know why he was like that,” Trofatter replied, according to Thomas’ report.

Thomas said he felt repulsed by Lovering’s unprofessional and unprovoked actions toward two town officials and reported the incident to police Chief Thomas Fowler to further document the confrontation. Thomas also wrote that Trofatter would be writing his own report on the incident.

Last week, Fowler said his department would not be investigating the matter further as it didn’t rise to a criminal offense. Yesterday, Fowler declined to comment on Thomas’ report or the incident in general.

Thomas’ report highlights another instance where Lovering has been criticized for his job performance. Last October, Lovering was admonished by several people including Sylvan Street Grille and Vision Max Theaters owner Bruce Arakelian during a Board of Selectmen meeting. A technicality over incomplete sprinkler system installations at the two businesses caused town officials to post one Salisbury firefighter at each of the businesses as a fire watch from Sept. 7 to Oct. 1, at a cost to taxpayers of about $27,000.

Removed after another solution to the snafu was found, the fire watch has raised the hackles of a number of people in town, especially those who see it as being caused by Lovering, who discovered the problem.

Arakelian blamed Lovering for creating the scenario that led to the fire watch, saying that Lovering uses the building code “as a weapon, not a tool.”

Succeeding Ken Surette, Lovering has been the town’s building inspector for about three years, coming over from Rowley where he served in the same capacity. During that time, Lovering has established a reputation as being very strict with municipal building codes, to the displeasure of some local contractors accustomed to a softer interpretation of codes espoused by his predecessors, according to Harrington.

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