Milar to assume two positions in interim

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 17, 2017

With a vacancy in the city of Picayune’s Planning and Zoning head office, Picayune’s Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar will assume two roles until a replacement for the former Planning and Zoning Director is hired.
City Manager Jim Luke said that he still plans to accept applications from current city employees, and later from applicants not currently employed with the city. Milar will take over the duties former Planning and Zoning Director Diane Miller handled before her retirement last week.
Luke said he will use this opportunity to test a money saving opportunity for the city by asking Milar to conduct both duties. While Milar assumes the added responsibilities, he will receive an increase in his pay.
Within the next 90 days, Luke said he intends to have a decision whether to hire another person to replace Miller, or permanently ask Milar to undertake the combination of duties.
If the final decision were to leave both responsibilities with Milar, then there would be potential to hire someone part-time to help Milar during the busy season, which is from March until November. Milar said that busy season applies to both offices, planning and zoning and code enforcement, because that’s when construction crews are more active and property maintenance becomes an issue in the city due to the growing season. During those months Milar said he typically presents 16 property maintenance related issues to the Council. During that time a part-time employee could be hired to help with paper work, Milar said. Even if that were the case, it would still be a cost savings to the city.
Additionally, Luke said that some of the responsibilities previoulsy handled by Miller have now been assigned to other city employees.
Milar said that while he serves as the interim planning and zoning director, he has some things he would like to implement, such as a façade ordinance in areas of the city zoned C-2 and C-3, particularly in the downtown area. His hope is the ordinance will ensure the feel of the downtown area is maintained by ensuring new construction of metal buildings in that area will not take place.
His second goal is to bring building codes within the city up to 2012 standards, since the city is currently using building codes from 2006. Part of his reasoning for the change is that surrounding areas to Picayune use 2012 codes. That includes St. Tammany Parish and Hancock County.
To ensure city residents are better served when they come to the planning and zoning office, Milar plans to cross-train all employees in that office so that when one employee is at lunch or on vacation, city residents seeking a permit or some other service aren’t turned away.
He would also like to establish a committee consisting of licensed contractors in the fields of electrical, plumbing and HVAC to help provide a temporary license to subcontractors without them.
That committee would review subcontractors without licenses and determine the best test, be it written or verbal, to ensure familiarity with the city’s codes. If they pass the test, the temporary license would be good only within the city limits of Picayune for one year.
“That way you’re not getting substandard work,” Milar said.
Luke said Milar has been a hard working city employee for about 24 years in various capacities.
“We think he will do a great job in the interim. If that works out we hope to make it permanent,” Luke said.

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