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South Bend Code Enforcement firings raise questions

By Kelli Stopczynski
Published On: Feb 06 2014 04:19:02 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 05:36:46 PM CST

The battle over merging two departments is once again heating up in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND -

Some South Bend Common Council members are once again sparring with the mayor over potentially merging two departments. They're questioning why several city Code Enforcement employees were let go in January.

Last year, Mayor Buttigieg proposed merging Code with the city's Building Department. That pitch included cutting jobs to save money. The council voted it down for the 2014 budget.

“Are you guys consciously getting rid of everybody out of code so you don’t have to do a merger?” council vice president Derek Dieter asked the Mayor during committee meetings Wednesday night.

“No,” Buttigieg responded. “I continue to think that a merger could be a very good idea but in the meantime every department head in this administration is asked to make sure the right personnel with the right skills are in the right position to do a good job.”

Both departments are operating within the framework of the 2014 budget, he told the council.

But he wants to talk with them again in the future about potentially merging Code and Building departments in 2015.