Transitions: Building Inspector retires; 3 employees join ranks

Apr 26, 2018 by

Published in the April 26, 2018 edition


NORTH READING — Building Inspector Jim DeCola, who will retire on Friday after more than 30 years of service to the town in a variety of roles, was honored by the Board of Selectmen Monday night.

Before a packed house of his friends and colleagues, which included many Town Hall employees and Zoning Board members, DeCola received the praise and thanks of the town for his professionalism over the years and was presented with a plaque by Selectmen Chairman Michael Prisco on behalf of the board.

DeCola’s career with the town began in 1988 when he was hired as the assistant wire inspector, Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto said. “In 1992, he became the alternate Building Inspector. In 1994 he became a full-time employee serving as a part-time wiring inspector and a part-time building inspector.

RETIRING Building Inspector Jim DeCola was recognized by the Board of Selectmen for his 30 years of service to the town. Front row from left: Selectwoman Kate Manupelli, Selectman Bob Mauceri, Jim DeCola, Selectman Steve O’Leary; back row, from left: Selectman Andrew Schultz, Selectmen Chairman Michael Prisco, Town Administrator Mike Gilleberto. (Maureen Doherty Photo)

“In October 2002, he became the permanent Inspector of Buildings, a position he has had since that time. He holds eight certifications, including that of building inspector, building commissioner, electrical inspector and master electrician.

“Jim has maintained an active role in his statewide association of building officials but also in his own education,” Gilleberto said, adding, “I know he has a deep understanding not only of the state code but of the uniqueness of North Reading’s local bylaws as well, and administrating them.”

“Mr. DeCola is a face that many property owners here in town have seen,” the T.A. said, when they seek “to improve their homes, to make repairs to their homes, to develop their property, to potentially construct a subdivision, all the way up to the largest of development projects, including North Reading Middle/High School, the Edgewood apartment complex and most recently the Pulte Homes of New England development at 104 Lowell Road. All of that construction comes through the office of the Building Inspector.” 

Gilleberto explained that when Town Meeting seeks to takes action to either amend the town’s zoning bylaw or create new a zoning bylaw the building inspector, who also serves as the zoning enforcement officer, becomes involved in that process.

DeCola, the T.A. said, could be counted upon to always be a professional and to approach his job “with consideration of the needs of our residents for the past 30 years and we thank him for his service.” Gilleberto remarked that the number of colleagues in attendance from Town Hall “is a further testament to the respect that the folks here in Town Hall have for Jim.”

The plaque given by Prisco read: “Presented to James DeCola in recognition of his 30 years of dedicated service to the Town of North Reading, including 16 years as Building Inspector, given by the Board of Selectmen on behalf of a grateful community. April 23, 2018.”

“I just want to say thank you,” DeCola said, after the presentation. “Thank you to the board, thank you to the town. I really enjoyed working for the town for 30 years. It’s been a great ride.”

“We do owe you a debt of gratitude,” Prisco commented. “We do take what you do for a living for granted a lot. You don’t hear a lot about safety problems or people’s decks crashing in their yards or problems created in our building projects because of the work you do and all the people in your department do, so thank you for keeping our community safe and making it a better place to live. You should take a lot of pride in that as you go into your retirement.”

New employees introduced

Given the number of vacancies in town positions through attrition following the retirements of Baby Boomers or those who have left the town’s employment for other opportunities in the past several months, both Gilleberto and Human Resources Director Bob Collins were glad to also introduce to the board three of the town’s newest employees.

The new Building Inspector, Gerry Noel, started on Monday and will benefit from one week of overlap working alongside DeCola as he prepares to pass the torch to Noel by week’s end.

Gilleberto said the screening committee that evaluated the candidates for building inspector included Chief of Police Michael Murphy, Deputy Fire Chief Barry Galvin and Human Resources Director Bob Collins and he was also interviewed by Town Planner Danielle McKnight.

He said Noel has inspectional services experience from the Middleton and Marlborough and was most recently the building commissioner in Boxborough.

According to Collins, Noel is a “Massachusetts Certified Building Commissioner, Certified Local Inspector, Licensed Construction Supervisor, and a member of the Massachusetts Metro West Building Officials and International Code Council.”

Youth Services Director

Gilleberto also introduced the new Youth Services Director Jennifer Ford, who lives in North Reading and was hired to fill the vacancy created when Amy Luckiewicz became the town’s Drug Free Communities Grant Director. Ford began her new role April 6.

“She was selected from a pool of candidates who were evaluated by a screening committee that included members of the Youth Services Committee,” Gilleberto said. “She comes to us with a background in education and counseling, with a focus on youth. She was most recently a program director for a teen live-in program and the Step Up program in Lynn. She has a bachelor’s degree in Education and Psychology, she is a Certified Nursing Assistant, and has a Certificate in Nonprofit Human Services Management.” 

Town Engineer

The new Town Engineer is John Klipfel. He replaced Michael Soraghan who retired last month after serving the town for 20 years. Gilleberto said Klipfel most recently was employed by the firm of “J. Tropeano where he was a superintendent and project manager for construction projects, including public construction projects. He has 11 years of engineering experience dating back to CDM Smith.”

A cum laude graduate of Merrimack College with a degree in civil engineering, Gilleberto said Klipfel is a Registered Professional Civil Engineer. 

In an email provided to the Transcript, Collins stated that the new Town Engineer “has worked on several major state and municipal utility projects including work for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Boston Water & Sewer Commission, City of Lowell, and the MWRA.”

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