I, for one, fall into the trap of thinking about code enforcement as a strictly parochial affair.
But it’s not. The use of firm but fair government regulation to ensure that people have safe places to live in is both a duty and a challenge at city halls throughout California.
And now Fresno City Hall can boast of having one of the state’s very best public servants committed to enforcing lawful residential living standards.
Richard Salinas, a Senior Community Revitalization Specialist, has been named California’s Code Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2018. The award comes from the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers (CACEO).
The CACEO accepted nominations from throughout the state. The association publicly announced Salinas’ award on Thursday.
“Richard is a great example of the dedicated and professional staff at the City of Fresno who have dedicated their careers to improving the quality of life for our residents,”
said Kelli Furtado, the city’s Assistant Director of Development and Resource Management.
“I was proud to be a part of his nomination, and to be sitting next to him to witness his humble surprise as he represented the best of our enforcement community at the annual conference this year.”
The association is no stranger to Fresno City Hall. Association board members recently joined Mayor Lee Brand and City Council members in recognizing more than 30 Code Enforcement Neighborhood Revitalization, and Rental Housing staff members as they were presented with Code Enforcement Officer certificates.
Salinas began his City of Fresno career in 2002. He has worked in the City Attorney’s Office as a paralegal, preparing defenses of lawsuits in state and federal courts. He has also assisted in land use litigation. He stays up to date with various CACEO training opportunities. He is fluent in Spanish and has maintained his bilingual certification with the city.
Salinas currently is responsible for compliance and enforcement of land use/conditional use permits. He and his wife of 21 years have three adult children who are currently attending college.
City Hall’s news release concludes:
“Richard often handles difficult and high profile cases. These cases tend to be very technical and complicated land use cases.”
I occasionally bump into Richard at City Hall. It’s always a pleasure to chat with him. He’s never gossipy about his work. That’s the mark of a true professional.
I’ve never seen Richard in action in the field. I have sometimes watched him testify at code enforcement appeals conducted by the city’s independent administrative hearing officer (Ed Johnson in the old days, Michael Flores more recently).
I’m a layman in these matters. But I’ve been struck by three aspects of Richard’s testimony. One, there’s always a mountain of documents in front of him. He appears to know what’s in all those documents. Two, he’s extremely precise in what he says. That’s a good thing, the hearings being essentially a court of law. And three, Richard Salinas is imperturbable. An appeal by its very nature is an adversarial affair. The hearing officer takes no sides at the beginning. The unfolding of an appeal can go in unexpected directions. Richard, to this audience member’s eyes, always handles the twists and turns with a cool head.
Congratulations, Mr. Salinas. Code enforcement is a challenging issue for all Fresnans. The city is fortunate to have you in the mix.