Code officer selection shouldn’t be decided with coin flip

Posted 8 December 2021 at 8:33 am


I applied for a code enforcement officer position with 3 towns and a village. In doing so, I knew patronage would be my biggest competitor.

I have 25 years in construction inspection services, for multiple government agencies, and commercial development, and I’m a  30-year resident of the village.

I applied to two of the towns so nobody could say the application got lost. A month later, I got an interview. I was excited, but anxious because I’m cynical.

The night before the interview, I got a call from Strong Hospital. They had just told my mom that she has terminal cancer, with not much time. Knowing this, I manned up, and went to the interview. I was anxious (mom’s alone at the hospital).

I felt the interview went well. As I was leaving, an angel told me I did amazing, and she would be fighting for me. Made me feel good, then off to hospital to console my dying mom – got to get her home, I promised.

A few days later, a call, need help with your references, and in the spirit of transparency and fairness, the committee is going to ask you about town zoning. The other applicants received same information.

Another call, interview, next Monday. Awesome, I got a chance.

Get mom home to hospice at home. Friday, she’s home. Happy to have her. In hospital bed, really weak, on morphine. Knowing it won’t be long.

Saturday, family and friends show up, her spirits lifted, even as her body lags. Sunday, she’s looking better, demanded to get out of bed. I was awoken, put her back to bed. Breathing, so laborious. She’s resting, family leaves, tears and hearts all over floor.

I need a break, anxious again, watching my amazing wife care for my mom, through the window, freezing outside. I feel so numb. She’s talking to my aunt, seems worried.

Seeing, her gasping, I called the nurse, more morphine. Can barely swallow. Aunt’s asleep and doesn’t look so good, herself. But glad she’s here.

My mother’s gasping lessens, I caress her head, tell her it’s OK to go. Over, and over…. Till  Mom, Mom. I listen, she’s gone. 11:45 p.m. on a Sunday.

First thing in morning, contacted towns, please withdraw my application for the position. Thank you. What do I do for work now?

Couple days later, another call. Can you come in next Tuesday, committee really wants to hear from you. OK. Anxious again, tired. Brother thinks it’s good news, think they liked what I said. I’m cynical. Second interview, I performed well, I crushed it. Had a thought out answer for all questions. Left feeling good. Anxious, when will they call? Days go by.

Friday, missed call. The town, can you call me. Call town. Hello, yes it was so close, we had to “Flip A Coin”….. Thud.

Well thanks again for opportunity and meeting you all. Seriously! A coin toss, didn’t realize it was OT in a football game.

My emotions played with, my grief ignored. Embarrassing. By the way, so and so got the position. Patronage over qualifications wins again. Illegal, No. Unfair, Yes.

My own town sold me out. $100,000 spent investing in my house, my community. For not. I’m not going to judge, I’ll leave that to the tax payers, and God.

I’m going to grieve.

Kevin A. Rogers