All five members of Building Code Board of Appeals resign

Published 4:54 pm Friday, February 15, 2008

The five members of the Pearl River County Building Code Board of Adjustments and Appeals have resigned, effective as of this week.

Chief Building Inspector Kirk Pichon, who turned in his own resignation two weeks ago, said the board was appointed by the previous board of supervisors at his recommendations. The board was created to handle building code complaints and heard appeals of decisions made by Pichon.

The members of the board were plumbing contractor Buddy Crespo, engineering contractor David Hattaway, electrical contractor John “Jack” Huck, mechanical contractor David Johnson, and residential building contractor Charles Ray Perry.

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While Johnson and Hattaway had no comment as to why they resigned, and Perry said only that he resigned for personal reasons, Crespo and Huck were more vocal about their reasons for resigning.

“I’m not happy with the new administration. Kirk (Pichon) was more than qualified for his position and the new board is not working with him. It’s sad. The county was doing really well, and the building codes were the reason. I don’t know what the new board has in mind, but other places are very stringent with their building codes,” Huck said.

Crespo had two reasons for his resignation.

“First of all, I’m resigning because Kirk resigned. I also think the new supervisors are stirring things up too much… The county was headed in a good new direction, but not now. I don’t like the situation. The new board is taking things in the wrong direction. They’re making building codes the issue when we have bigger problems in this county,” Crespo said.

Perry also said he was disappointed that Pichon had resigned.

“I hate to see Kirk leave. He was good for the county. But I can understand why he did,” Perry said.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin and District I Supervisor Anthony Hales had no comment about the resignations. Lumpkin said he had heard of the board members’ plans to resign, but did not have any official word yet.

District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee said he did not understand the board members’ decisions to resign, but he has plans to look into the situation.

“I understand some of them are upset about Mr. Pichon leaving and hold the board responsible, but I don’t know why … I don’t know if there is a message they are trying to send or what. We really need to look into it. It seems like they feel like Mr. Pichon’s resigning is the end of the matter, but it’s not,” Lee said.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday said he had not heard of the resignations, but that he hopes to get to a point where the board is not needed.

“I appreciate the members wanting to try to resolve any conflict, but I want to try to structure the building codes where we don’t have to have a board to resolve these conflicts. Right now, everyone that goes in the building office is coming out upset… I also don’t know how effective a board can be that only meets once a month. If you have a problem, you don’t want to wait three or four weeks before it’s resolved. You want it resolved then. We need to put common sense back in the building codes and give the office staff the authority to make decisions about the codes,” Holliday said.

Lee expressed concern that some people think changes have already been made to the building codes.

“People have been going into the permit office saying they have heard about changes. I’m not aware of any changes. Everything should be the same until we get a new chief building inspector and he works with the advisory board to make changes,” Lee said.

District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper and District V Supervisor Sandy Smith had not returned calls for comment by press time.

Pichon said the board of appeals had met last week and resolved any outstanding appeals, but that if any other matters come up, the board of supervisors would handle the situation until a new board of appeals is appointed.