Wayne Earley, the Honesdale Borough zoning officer whose licensure has been under the scrutiny of The Wayne Independent for weeks, was dismissed by the borough council with a vote of six in favor and one abstention. No member voted against it.
The March 12 motion to fire Earley came from board member Bob Jennings, who brought allegations against Earley nearly one year ago. The reason given for the dismissal was Earley’s alleged lack of proper licenses, for the disorder of his recordkeeping and for some alleged missing files.
Furthermore, Earley for a time also acted as the zoning inspector for the neighboring Texas Township while holding the office for Honesdale, with a complex mingling of the two municipalities’ records. Kelly Services, Inc is now conducting an examination of the two municipalities’ records.
Earley claims that the allegations are false and has been advised by council not to speak publicly since he may have to go to litigation over the matter. He was not present at the meeting.
In setting the stage for the dismissal, Honesdale Borough Chairman F.J. Monaghan read a statement concerning a response received from Director of Labor and Industry Julia Hearthway after inquiry about the legitimacy of Earley’s licenses.
The statement, which was quite long, stated in part: “In 2007, [Earley]completed certification for all building code officials, all residential inspections, accessibility inspections/plans examiner through the International Code Council,” Monaghan said. “These were accepted by the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) by August of 2007 as a building code official, residential electrical inspector, residential plumbing inspector and accessibility inspector/plans examiner.”
But other licenses were not in compliance. Monaghan said that the borough was still working on why the residential mechanical and residential building inspector certifications, which Earley completed in September of 2007, were not recognized until December of 2010. “We cannot find a record of these documents having been submitted prior to December 2010 when the issue was raised by Mr. Jennings,” he said.
After the meeting, Monaghan was asked if the borough’s investigation through L&I was a moot question and would not be continued, to which he answered, “Yes.” Asked further if the borough had evidence of Earley’s licensing problems from a source other than The Wayne Independent, he declined to answer.
A week ago, after hearing from the director of the L&I for a second time that the current Honesdale Borough zoning officer’s licenses were seriously faulty, the Wayne Independent called for his dismissal.
Earley had many irregularities in his licensure. According to Christopher Manlove of L&I, Earley did not have a legitimate license to review residential applications from between April 2007 to July 19, 2007. Further, Manlove said that Earley was not permitted to perform residential, electrical, plumbing, or energy inspections between April 9, 2007 and August 5, 2007.
He said Earley was also not permitted to perform residential
building inspections or residential mechanical inspections between April 9, 2007 and December 8, 2010. Further, his licensure indicated that he was not permitted to perform building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or energy inspections or plan reviews for commercial construction since April 9, 2009.
Additionally, Manlove said that two earlier complaints about Earley were received and investigated but the agency found no wrongdoing.
According to state officials, when the state adopted the new Uniform Construction Code (UCC) in April of 2004, it gave zoning and code officials a grace period in which to obtain certification. For commercial certification, Earley and his colleagues had until April 9, 2009 to get certified. For residential certification they had until April 9, 2007.
As to penalties, Manlove said the law states that upon conviction, a building inspector could be sentenced to pay a fine no more than $1,000. Each day that a violation is not corrected is considered to be a separate violation.