It has been 10 years since the Town of Fountain Hills has had more than one code enforcement officer, but that changed earlier this month.
Vince Hatcher, a Fountain Hills resident, joined Senior Code Enforcement Officer Roy Jaffe on July 15 and is currently undergoing training. Hatcher has three dozen years in law enforcement and is proving to be a quick study in learning the ins and outs of the Town Code, according to Jaffe.
Having a second person in the unit will allow for more consistency of enforcement. It will provide seven-day coverage each week for the town and allow for weekend sign and sale attention. Code complaints range from how trailers are parked, parking on the lawn, weeds and of course sign regulations.
Sometimes a complaint will have a domino effect with one complaint leading to another through the neighborhood, according to Jaffe.
Jaffe has 14 years with the town and came on when there were two others in the code unit. Due to budget cuts he has been on his own for the past decade.
This fiscal year, at the urging of Mayor Ginny Dickey, the council budgeted for the additional manpower for Code Enforcement.
“We are happy to welcome new Code Enforcement Officer Vince Hatcher to Fountain Hills,” Mayor Dickey said. “As discussed at our council retreat and other occasions, it had become increasingly clear that keeping our community well-maintained with only one person to cover the entire town was not possible.
“In addition to what might be considered quality of life issues such as addressing abandoned vehicles, Vince and Senior Code Enforcement Officer Roy Jaffe are responsible for protecting neighborhoods from potentially hazardous conditions; for example, illegal dumping. Now these services will be available on weekends and I am grateful to have both Roy and Vince here.”
The new position added $79,797 to the code enforcement budget for the fiscal year.
There were 50 applicants for the job, according to Jaffe.
“Vince is the best fit for this position,” he said. “We use a flexible, non-confrontational approach to enforcement.
“Hopefully we will be able to address issues that come up when people know we are out there.”
The extra personnel will also allow time for an update of the code to address issues in how civil and criminal violations are addressed, Jaffe said.
Hatcher served in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for 36 years working patrol, aviation and special operations. He flew fixed wing aircraft for 18 years with MCSO. In his 11 years with special operations he was in Fountain Hills on occasion for special saturation patrols and investigative functions. He and his wife moved here after he retired about a year ago.
“I got bored with retirement and started looking for opportunities locally,” Hatcher said. “I thought this was ideal to serve the community where I live.
“I enjoy the atmosphere of helping people. In most instances people do not even know there is a violation and we can get it resolved without writing a citation.”
The council has made it clear they do not want a heavy-handed approach in code enforcement, according to Jaffe.
“People skills are even more important than knowing the code with this kind of flexible enforcement,” Jaffe said. “Vince has an excellent demeanor to handle those situations.
“Our role is education as much as it is enforcement. We get 99 percent compliance without citing.”