Chief Building Inspector Pichon resigns

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pearl River County Chief Building Inspector Kirk Pichon has turned in his resignation to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, giving the board a notice of two weeks before ending his employment.

In a phone interview Tuesday morning, Pichon confirmed his resignation, but was unwilling to comment at the time on his reasons for resigning.

Reactions from other county officials were ones of surprise and shock.

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District I Supervisor Anthony Hales called Pichon’s resignation a “great loss” and said he wasn’t sure of Pichon’s reasons for leaving.

“I respect Kirk and his knowledge about the building codes. I guess he feels he can’t accomplish the things he needs to and to do the job like it needs to be done… I think he feels like he has been put in a position where his integrity has been compromised… It’s unfortunate for the county to lose such an employee. I just wish he could stay on,” Hales said.

District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said he only heard about Pichon’s resignation late Monday evening and had not had a chance to speak with Pichon. However, Smith said he wanted to find out what Pichon’s reasons are for leaving.

“(Kirk) is a good asset to the county. He knows a lot about the codes. We just needed to work out some issues… I just wish he had given more time to work through our problems… I hate to see him leave, because I think he was the right person for the job,” Smith said.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday, who has butted heads with Pichon numerous times over the building code issue, said Pichon’s leaving comes as a surprise to him as well.

“I don’t know why he’s leaving, but it’s his choice… People wanted change, and I promised change during my campaign… We kept him because he understood the codes… I did not force him to quit,” Holliday said.

Holliday said he had hoped Pichon could help the county find a middle ground on the building codes, but the compromise never materialized.

“We started out with no codes and inspections and then went to the extreme of inspecting everything in the world… We thought we might be able to find some middle ground, but he never would speak up with a solution or compromise,” Holliday said.

District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee said he had spoken with Pichon and understood his decision to resign.

“He’s just worn out. He took a lot of abuse over the whole (building code) situation, and he’s had a really tough time. It started out that the codes were really strict, and then we came in and started trying to go the other way, and it hasn’t been an easy road either way,” Lee said.

Lee said Pichon had given the county plenty of notice so that hopefully they can find a suitable replacement soon.

“It just means more work for us, but we’ll find somebody else and we’ll be all right,” Lee said.

Pichon has been with the county since June of 2006, and holds 30 International Code Council certifications, including Residential Building and Commercial Building Inspector, Building Plans Examiner, Electrical Inspector, Fire Inspector I and II, Plumbing Inspector, Mechanical Inspector and Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector. He also recently obtained certification as Fire Code Official.