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New code-enforcement officer begins work in Potsdam

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POTSDAM — Norwood resident Larry J. Colbert began work as the village’s newest code enforcement officer this week, the third man to take on the job this year.

Mr. Colbert, a former town councilman and retired industrial electrician, said he took the job as a way to stay occupied during his retirement.

“I wanted something to keep me busy, and I think it will,” he said. “I don’t believe in sitting home watching TV day after day.”

According to Village Administrator David H. Fenton, Mr. Colbert’s experience with contracting and local government give him the skills he needs to handle the job.

“He has a good temperament. I think he’s very good with people, and I think he also has considerable contracting experience,” Mr. Fenton said.

Mr. Colbert is not yet certified as a code enforcement officer. He will need to undergo six three-day training courses at various locations across the state, the first of which he attended this week.

Mr. Colbert’s salary is $42,500 a year. This will be increased to $44,500 once he has completed his training, a process that will likely take about six months, according to Mr. Fenton.

While Mr. Colbert is undergoing training, he will still be able to perform his duties, according to Mr. Fenton. For any situations that may come up that he is unsure how to handle, people will be available to help him out.

“There are folks that he can call at the state level that can give him advice for certain situations,” Mr. Fenton said.

The code enforcement position has been vacated twice this year. Timothy J. O’Brien was fired by the village board in May, after slightly less than one year on the job.

Mr. Colbert applied for the position to replace Mr. O’Brien, but was passed over in favor of Clarkson graduate Kevin Brostek, who quit after barely one month had passed.

Mr. O’Brien has sued the village to get his job back, saying he was fired for trying to enforce building and safety regulations at Clarkson University, where three board members work.

Mr. Fenton said he expects Mr. Colbert to bring stability to a position that has proven violatile this year.

“Larry is a local person who’s going to settle into that job and be there for quite some time,” he said.

As for Mr. Colbert, he says he is eager to get to work.

“I think we’re going to be busy, and I think I’m going to enjoy the job. Potsdam is a very busy community,” he said.

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