WELFLEET — Wellfleet had a permanent full-time building inspector for two days last month. But he resigned after hitting the housing wall.
Vincenzo Tirone, the former building commissioner in Monson, reported for his first day of work but then told Charlie Sumner, the interim town administrator, that he had been called up for active duty with the National Guard. He soon followed up with a second email on Oct. 19 stating he could not find a place to live.
Reached by phone on Nov. 15, Tirone said he resigned for a combination of reasons. One was that the military had called him up to help drive school buses. Gov. Charlie Baker activated the National Guard two months ago to drive children to school because of a shortage of drivers in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lynn, and Lowell, according to a National Public Radio report.
Second, “I was not expecting how difficult the housing market was going to be,” Tirone said. “Houses are extremely expensive and then you see a house, and it goes under contract.”
He apologized to Sumner for failing to adequately foresee the severity of the housing crisis on the Cape.
“This is something that we will be struggling with for a while,” said select board chair Ryan Curley. “You cannot get help if there is nowhere for them to live.”
Six people had applied for the building inspector’s job following the resignation in July of Paul Fowler. (He took a job as Dennis building commissioner because it is closer to his home in Barnstable.) While Sumner conducted a search for two months, a backlog of unprocessed permits built up.
By the time Victor Staley, who had recently retired as Brewster’s building commissioner, came to Wellfleet in September to fill in temporarily, 35 permits awaited his inspections and signature.
Staley had gotten the pile of permit applications down to about six, Sumner said.
Meanwhile, he has hired James Badera Jr., 48, of Orleans, who had been a candidate in the previous search. Badera is scheduled to begin work on Dec. 1.
Badera, a native of Eastham, has an active construction supervisor’s license, according to the Mass. Div. of Professional Licensure. And he did inspections for the town of Chatham for a year in 2014, according to his resume.
Badera is certified as a local inspector, Staley said. Within 18 months, he must take a test to become a building commissioner. In the interim, Staley will stay on part-time until Badera gets commissioner certification.
Badera has over 20 years’ experience as an engineer. He worked from 1997 to 2002 as a civil engineer at East Cape Engineering in Orleans. From 2002 to 2008, he worked at Jordan Group Engineering and the O’Neill Engineering Group in Arizona. He has owned Badera Engineering since 2008, his resume states.
His experience preparing construction documents “will add a depth of understanding” to the building code enforcement duties of a building inspector, Badera told the Independent.
John Fitzgerald, a long-time Wellfleet building contractor, said he is glad someone new is coming aboard. But the turnover has been frustrating. Fowler stayed in Wellfleet for only eight months. The inspector before him, Justin Post, lasted three years.
Fitzgerald had a big job held up for two months due to the backlog of permits this summer. Each building inspector has his own style and opinions on the interpretation of building codes.
“You want a guy to get the job and stay with it,” Fitzgerald said. “It is nice to know the players.”