Construction Code Officials are generally hard working individuals who protect the safety of the residents of the State of New Jersey. However, there are some officials who are unable or unwilling to do their job properly and to ensure compliance with the building code by builders and contractors across the state. Part of the problem stems from fragmentation of the employment process of these individuals. The Department of Community Affairs is in charge of licensing, evaluating and hiring construction officials and subcode officials, but has very little contact with those officials after they are employed. On the other hand, the Municipalities in which the code officials work can only regulate the number of weekly hours an official must work. Despite the fact that the Municipalities work closely with the officials and are better situated to judge a code official=s performance, they are presently unable to discipline or terminate the code official.
However, Assemblymen Peter Biondi, Vincent Prieto and Jerry Green have proposed an amendment to the “State Uniform Construction Code Act” which would give the municipality the power to supervise individual code enforcement officials, and to take disciplinary actions against officials when they fail to carry out their official duties, including terminating the code enforcement official. Senate Bill, No. 149 (2006). The proposed legislation allows a municipality to institute disciplinary action when the code official=s conduct violates any municipal ordinance, when the code official violates conflict of interest rules or when the code official exhibits misconduct in the performance of his or her duties. This may provide residents of New Jersey with a more qualified, better equipped group of code officials who are more likely to observe and correct code violations, which may lead to better construction practices overall.