When Renee Crockett lived in a three-story, six-apartment building on First Avenue five years ago, she dealt with bare electrical wires, mice and a hole in her bathroom ceiling.
“When the guy above us would shower, our bathroom would smell like his shampoo,” she said.
Crockett, her boyfriend and her neighbor across the hall contacted code enforcement several times, she said, with no action. Finally, when a supervisor came out to see their living conditions, her issues were addressed, she said.
The Schenectady code enforcement office is amid turbulent times. It is simultaneously without a department head, under audit by the state and in the shadow of a former employee’s alleged role in a fatal 2015 fire. City officials said the department is adequately staffed, and they are making internal changes to improve accountability and efficiency. But many residents said they feel the department is either unresponsive, unreliable or understaffed.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re calling to get help,” said resident Carmen Montanaro, recalling his experiences with the department. “It feels like you’re calling and they don’t want to do anything about it.”
For residents who have encountered code enforcement or attempted to file complaints, the process has not always gone smoothly.
In recent interviews, many residents said there’s a perception the department is either understaffed or slow to respond to complaints. Some say they’ve had no issues with code officers, but are unsure of how effective the city’s follow up methods are. In nearly all cases,…
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