It’s Time to Plant Seeds..Invest in Yourself.

COVID-19 has changed the workplace forever, and now is the time for you to shift into gear. It is estimated that one third of continuous learners now take online courses. There are several benefits to learning virtually—from increased flexibility to lower costs, but online courses aren’t for everyone. Some individuals want to engage face-to-face or need the in-person touchpoints to stay on track and motivated.

If you’re mulling over the decision to take an online class, you should first weigh the pros and cons against your career goals and preferred learning style.

For working professionals interested in advancing their careers, the following upcoming online courses offer flexibility and convenience and can help to balance your current life stage and job responsibilities.

Metric One Virtual Training Class-
Effective Local Government Leadership

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 9:00 AM -4:00 P.M. ET

This course is designed to challenge local managers to use strategic thinking to guide decision making and let the lessons of today teach them how to use tactical deployment of resources to effectuate change in a community. Attendees will be guided in achieving the community mission and helped in ushering in new local government policies that will result in productivity and effectiveness. Attendees will learn how to shift all aspects of local government services including community development, regulatory compliance, public works and public safety by developing new strategic goals, changing public service delivery and “leaping forward” in operational effectiveness.

CACEO Training Class-
Legal, Ethical and Moral Code Enforcement

THURSDAY OCTOBER 15, 2020 – ON DEMAND

Ethics and morals relate to “right” and “wrong” conduct. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different. Is following the rules the safest option? This course is designed to explore the world of these concepts in a regulatory environment and to help officers and inspectors develop practices to stay abreast of the right and wrong things to do during their daily workday.

AACE Virtual Training Class –
Dealing With Difficult People 

FRIDAY OCTOBER 30, 2020 – 8:00-9:30 A.M. MT

Code enforcement officers and regulatory officials need to understand the personalities of the people they encounter on the field (customers) in order to deal with them appropriately and to resolve problems efficiently.

This course will explore the four primary personality types and discuss how to deal with the attitudes of difficult residents you may come face to face with. As a regulator, you need to provide service in a manner that will work well with your customer’s personality type. This can sometimes be difficult, but it’s necessary. No matter how good you are at your job, you’re going to encounter difficult customers from time to time. With the right approach, even the most frustrating individual can be served with a minimal amount of stress.

ICC Virtual Training Class-
Zoning & Code Enforcement

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18, 2020  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM CT

Communities use zoning to guide growth and development in harmony with current and future land use and to protect health, safety, appearance, and prosperity.

This course is designed to introduce participants to zoning concepts and provide an overview of zoning concepts that code officials can use in enforcing regulations.

This course is in a Virtual Training Room: This type of online classroom allows you to see and hear the instructor and classroom and they will be able to see and hear you. This is not a web session with voice over. Ensure you have a dependable internet connection. Details regarding access into the Virtual Classroom will be sent to you prior to the start of the class.

ICC Virtual Training Class-
Procedures for Officers and Inspectors

TUESDAY DECEMBER 8, 2020  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM CT

The role of the code enforcement officer or inspector in a municipality is one of respect and confidence. This class is designed to reflect knowledge of how code enforcement officers and inspectors can integrate best practices into their service delivery. Segments of the training will include the concept of creating an “Action Register” to track important tasks and deliverables. To manage work more efficiently, the Code Enforcement Continuum will be introduced as a tool to determine the level of enforcement necessary to close the case.

Online Learning for Local Government, Professional Organizations and Private Business.

Photo by Anna Shvets

As a passionate educator and advocate for training and continuous improvement, I will argue that there is no substitute for in-person, one-on-one, or small group instruction; but in the age of social distancing it is time for all to become comfortable transitioning to an online learning platform. According to research, 87% of remote team members feel more connected to their team when they can use videoconferencing or online learning. All of Metric ONE training courses, which are International Code Council (ICC) certified for continuous education units (CEU’s), have been modified for online learning and designed to reflect knowledge of how code officials learn best.

While the world is reacting and adapting, companies are asking employees to work and learn from home. Managers and employees both are realizing the challenge to sustain business continuity and ensure a successful continuation of work and service.

Metric ONE classes are traditionally organized into three (3) or six (6) hour instructional segments with a variety of methods used throughout to make the learning experience active, enjoyable, and memorable with a wide range of topics to help you and your organization achieve results. Metric ONE online training classes can lead to improved communication and collaboration, resulting in greater productivity.

I look forward to providing training and consulting services to your team!

Click this link to visit METRIC ONE ONLINE

Hooray! It’s Finally Time to Schedule Your Code Enforcement Training!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

In the next few weeks, your leadership team needs to retool processes and have structured debrief sessions. Use this opportunity to acknowledge successes and plan quality Online or In-Person training; MetricONE is your trusted training provider.

Courses facilitated by Marcus Kellum are International Code Council (ICC) certified for continuous education units (CEU’s) and designed to reflect knowledge of how code officials learn best. Kellum is a trainer, guest speaker and facilitator for regulatory professional organizations and have trained thousands of code enforcement officers and inspectors across the country. Classes are traditionally organized into three (3) or six (6) hour instructional segments with a variety of methods used throughout to make the learning experience active, enjoyable, and memorable with a wide range of topics to help you and your organization achieve results.

Not sure what you need, or what it costs? We can explain what classes or services are right for you and tell you more about our fees.

Let’s rebuild together.

Visit Metric One to request more information, or call 470.588.7144

Are Code Enforcement Officers Paid to Think?

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Are you empowered or being “paid to think” at your organization? This concept unfortunately has become patronizing to employees who in some cases discovered they had lots of responsibility and did not truly have authority. There are some local governments that value initiative, creativity and encourage innovation; however, some people wonder what the boundaries are. As a code official, can you experiment and improve processes if safety, ethics, regulations, and quality are not sacrificed?

The necessity for regulatory enforcement comes from communities that create codes and laws in the first place, which seeks to establish a set of stipulated “rules” for society to function without crime and chaos. The purpose of regulatory enforcement is to minimize the violation of these rules and diminish social disobedience.

In previous blogs, I have asserted the fact that successful businesses, local governments, and organizations that have standard operating procedures and other systems in place are more effective in delivering services. Although most regulatory officers/code officials have a set of rules to follow as they complete tasks, as well as a system of processes and policies that govern operations (not to mention state and local law), does it help to “think” about potential outcomes as you follow these rules?.

When regulatory staff first field citizen complaints about the hazards of potential non-compliant properties, they often respond by exercising their code enforcement authorities. Proper use of discretion is probably the most important measure of a code enforcement officer or department. Best practices in the regulatory field suggest that a code officer would never be efficient if that officer strictly enforced every violation observed to the “letter of the law” without first thinking.  

Few things involved with human behavior are black or white. The best officers operate in the gray areas of human existence. This gray area is where citizens need the code officers to operate with confidence and good judgment so that residents can be educated and comply with the codes and ordinances. I can tell you from personal experience some people need citations, and other people deserve warnings, with a little help on how to achieve compliance.  

While this system is far from perfect, it works. Just like our government, there are checks and balances that should be built into the system as well as room to think. Code officers enforce the laws based on general directions given to them by their administration, the prosecutor’s office and the courts but backed by local, state, and federal law; so while we can debate if you are being paid enough, you are certainly “paid to think”.  

Principles of Community Code Compliance

Complimentary to preservation and enhancement of physical property is the idea that ordinance enforcement also preserves and enhances community harmony. Relationships between homeowners, the business community, and code regulators are an important part of the health of a community.  The way by which many codes and ordinances are enforced, and the organizational structure of some regulatory departments create ineffective outcomes; often code enforcement officers are unable to address or resolve certain field-related issues without the need for referral to another functional area. For example, if a Code Enforcement Officer visited a restaurant to follow-up on a complaint about illegal signage, and he or she notices that the business does not have a license, depending on policy, one might be forced to contact the Business License Division; then that arm of government would send an inspector to verify non-compliance and issue notices if appropriate.

This fragmented approach to code compliance and enforcement is highly inefficient, as these redundancies cost your municipality in higher resource utilization and decreased service delivery.  This approach also delays response times, has a negative effect on public expectations, and diminishes the municipality’s capacity to promptly remediate existing problems. 

When making a switch from traditional code enforcement to one structured by principles of community code compliance, the way by which the code officer identifies and delivers services to the community is the issue. Traditionally, code enforcement service is delivered in a reactive way. The proactive “policing technique” or concept requires a process that assesses the needs of the public and transforms those needs into code enforcement services.

The Current State of “Innovation” in Code Enforcement

If you were asked to number a piece of paper from 1 to 10 and list 10 names of “innovators” in the field of code and regulatory enforcement, I think it would be quite a difficult task. While there are some very knowledgeable and entertaining instructors and teachers with great “war stories,” the same material and classes are offered at every code enforcement or building official conference across the country. It is a fact however that learning from an experienced trainer or facilitator is important for those of us who are new to the regulatory field, and for those who like to brush up on some of the basics; but as regulators, what does it take to create true innovators in our field?

To begin with, these new potential “innovators” need to exist in an environment where there is a value attached to their ideas and their approach to enforcement. Many public service environments are not conducive to creating innovators because they are filled with people that say, ‘We’ve always done it this way!’ An innovator is a person who visualizes how things could be done different (and better). A place with too many controls and leaders with self-serving agendas and large ego’s prevent innovators from emerging. Now if I were to ask you to list 10 cities or counties where innovation is stymied, I bet that could be done with little to no effort.

In local government, is there really a desire for innovation? Some would say the status quo is most comfortable for elected officials and tenured executive staff, but others would argue there is room for innovation; those are the people who have the potential to innovate our field. The naysayers are codependent on these people and are always waiting on another person to come up with an idea. Ironically, (and from personal experience) many local government managers and officials are efficient at making it uncomfortable for people that are willing to challenge conventional wisdom and test new and different kinds of ideas, and these places eventually suffer from the loss of that capability in an innovator (sounds like…insert your city/county/organization here!)

Are you ready to innovate? Can you take the time to develop a solution to a process or issue that can be implemented in your enforcement activities? In code, building and zoning compliance and enforcement there are huge opportunities for innovation. From a new technical solution to a possible new way to respond to resident requests, innovators must create a structure that systematically increases efficiency.

I am counting on the new generation of enforcers, inspectors and code officials to lead the way to innovation; are you ready?  

About the author: Marcus Kellum, MMPA CCEA
Marcus Kellum has worked with local governments, private businesses and professional organizations across the country to train their regulatory, compliance and enforcement officers and inspectors. He spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties in Georgia, Colorado and the City of New York. He has held positions as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a Certified Code Enforcement Administrator and holds a BS in criminal justice administration, and a master’s degree in management and public administration.

The Relationship of Conflict and Power when Enforcing Codes

For the purposes of explaining “power” for a code official, I would like to start by discussing conflict in the regulatory code environment. I will operate from the assumption that “conflict” encountered by code regulators is simply an alternate or opposing view by an individual (or organization) that produces different outcomes affecting a person or a group of people (i.e. the resident versus the city) hence, a “power” struggle.

According to the book entitled “Interpersonal Conflict” by Wilmont & Hocker “ All conflicts at some level hinge upon the fact that people perceive that there are incompatible goals held by a person (or organization) that is interfering with what the other person wants.” For code regulators, that basically means we encounter some residents (or business owners) that have beliefs systems which give meaning to their lives, and when we come to enforce the code, we impose a perceived incompatible belief system that is a threat to their survival.  

So why does managing the relationship of conflict and power even matter?

Well, if power is the ability to affect or influence; it is a good idea to leverage techniques that will assuage a resident’s anxiety. With power, people follow you by their own will–a person can possess a great deal of power and absolutely no authority to do anything.

According to Wilmont & Hocker “ People feel passionately about power—who has it, who ought to have more or less, how people misuse power, and how justified they feel in trying to gain more power for themselves.” Managing your relationship of conflict and power can be addressed in many ways, and the technique used to resolve it heavily depends on the situation. Some people often try to avoid conflict or pretend that it does not exist when enforcing codes, but when making decisions as a state or local authority, one must highly consider opposing views and the potential impact “power” of your decisions.

About the author:  Marcus Kellum, MMPA CCEA

Marcus Kellum has worked with local governments, private businesses, and professional organizations across the country to train their regulatory, compliance and enforcement officers and inspectors. He spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties in Georgia, Colorado, and the City of New York. He has held positions as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a Certified Code Enforcement Administrator and holds a BS in criminal justice administration, and a master’s degree in management and public administration.  

Continuous Improvement for your Business and Community

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If your community’s comprehensive plan includes neighborhood preservation and redevelopment, or your company’s business plan creates a quality of place for residents; retooling your current delivery of these services is a priority. A new approach will allow greater opportunity to utilize your business to help restore neighborhoods throughout the community you serve and address key issues pertaining to building, zoning, regulatory enforcement, lodging, operations, property maintenance, and management.

Metric One Training and Consulting can provide your community or business with a new approach that would not only meet immediate citizen and policy concerns but would create a system of service delivery that will result in greater effectiveness and improved business performance. In addition, staff will be trained on best new practices and service delivery techniques and concepts.

A more efficient approach allows for greater flexibility and provides increased operational efficiency and greater customer service. Eliminating redundancies in business operations and ensuring that existing resources are available to provide a wide range of services at a higher rate of speed will increase public confidence in both the residential and business and communities.  

Change is a fundamental component of continuous quality improvement. Any improvement methodology involves introducing change and measuring its impact. Public service and private business operation under Metric One’s delivery strategy will create a streamlined effort that will redefine service delivery and make each function stronger and more effective.

Contact us today for a free quote or for a detailed list of service offerings

MetricOne2018@gmail.com
(470) 588-7144

A View from The Edge- Code Enforcement and the Plain View Doctrine

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If there is any legal concept or practice that is helpful to regulatory inspectors and officers is the Plain View Doctrine. Basically, under the plain view doctrine, if code officials are lawfully in a position from which they view an object, if it is visibly a violation of the locally adopted code or ordinance, they may issue official warnings, notices of violation or citations regarding the violation without a warrant.

Generally, unless one of the warrant exceptions applies, most regulatory/government officials need a search warrant before they can search a home, or business for violations. A search (or inspection) that is made without a warrant, or in violation of a warrant, is considered an unreasonable search, so the plain view doctrine is a tool for regulators to use if the violation can be seen without entry or search.

It is important to note that Consent is when a resident, or business owner give consent to an inspection. The consent must be given freely and voluntarily, and the person must be an individual who would otherwise normally expect the area being searched to be private (not the underage child of the property owner).

Violations in plain view may be addressed by the code officer

If the regulator, during a routine inspection or in response to a complaint (depending on your local policy) happen to notice “illegal items or activity”(i.e. junk vehicle, working without a permit, evidence of overcrowding) left out in plain sight, they are normally permitted to pursue actions that are authorized by state and local law.

It is important for officers and inspectors to consider the totality of their actions based on the circumstances of the encounter on the field. In other words, exercise good judgement when using your enforcement authority.  When moving forward with any enforcement activity, code officers and inspectors should be sure to:

  1. Know the limits of your authority (if you do not have the authority, do not make threats or promises)
  2. Be in a place you have a right to be (standing in the right-of way, or any other legal vantage point)
  3. Inspect for conditions that violate the code, and refer those conditions outside of your scope to those who have the authority   

About the Author: Marcus Kellum is a training and management professional with Metric One Training & Consulting based in Atlanta, GA. For over 10 years, Marcus has worked with local governments, private businesses and professional organizations to train their regulatory, compliance and enforcement officers and inspectors. He spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties. He has held positions such as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a certified code enforcement administrator, property maintenance and housing inspector and has a Master’s degree in Management and Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Local Government Leadership Post COVID 19 (Part II)

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The aftermath of COVID-19 will require leaders and managers of local government organizations to develop progressive emergency management and public policies. Today’s headlines exemplify this fact and proves that the elements of true leadership and civil awareness is no longer a novelty. Some leaders got it right when it mattered; a transparent government organization is one that is open, responsive and accessible to all resident requests and needs.

The Coronavirus pandemic has essentially “outed” municipal and county departments and leaders with mundane ideas of local governance and antiquated service delivery. These communities have therefore suffered in this “shelter-in-place” economy, and things that should have been done, are now being done while progressive cities and counties that offer modern services have thrived.

Some local government leaders have failed their citizenry. As we move forward, like with anything new, there is a cost associated with progressive governance and transparency, however the benefit clearly outweighs that cost. To some, transparency means revealing weaknesses to potential rivals; however, increased transparency can increase confidence by the citizenry and rally support if properly communicated. A transparent leader (and organization) maintain lines of communication with all stakeholders and is forthcoming with government related practices, procedures and results. A transparent organization acts ethically and talks openly to everyone lending itself to scrutiny and measure by the public.

A local governments ability to ensure that transparency exists, controls are in place, and that self- interest by management is channeled into work performance, makes for an effective form of governance. Local managers are challenged to use strategic thinking to guide decision making and let the lessons of today teach them how to use tactical deployment of resources to effectuate change in a community. Achieving the community mission should be the goal, and ushering in new local government policies will result in productivity and effectiveness.

About the AuthorMarcus Kellum spent nearly three decades in public service working with various cities and counties in Georgia, Colorado and the City of New York. He has held positions as code division manager, chief of enforcement, and department director. Marcus is a Certified Code Enforcement Administrator and holds a BS in criminal justice administration, and a master’s degree in management and public administration.