Being a new environmental code enforcement inspector for the city since earlier this summer, former alderwoman Nancy O’Kane, who also is the wife of current Ward 4 Alderman Mike O’Kane, has already had some rewarding experiences on the job.
She recounted two incidents where children had asked her why she was telling someone what they had to do with their property in a call that involved a mattress in a yard that was going to be removed, and a little boy whom she encouraged to pick up trash in his grandmother’s yard.
She asked the first group of children if they would like to live in a neighborhood where there were mattresses or other debris in each front yard.
O’Kane said the children then started to understand her job.
The job of the city’s four environmental code enforcement inspectors also has changed in the last couple weeks to have more technology at their fingertips.
They now are equipped with iPads out in the field throughout the city.
This allows for inspectors to spend more time on city streets instead of in an office inputting data.
They can also take photos with the iPad of properties and have FaceTime, which is video chatting, with other city officials if there are questions about a property.
It saves time and gas, said Bob Scott, public works service and operations manager.
Scott estimates inspectors’ time in the field is increased at least by 25 percent with the increased technology.
Inspectors also can cite certain ordinance sections word for word to property owners with the iPad, and they also can receive e-mails in the field.
“(The iPad) kind of becomes an extension of your hand,” Scott said of the inspectors now.
Code enforcement changes and increased technology are part of the city’s reorganization of departments.