Commission controversy over building inspector

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

SEVIER COUNTY (WVLT) Sevier County is looking to hire its first building inspector with a county commission vote tonight.

But the vote doesn't come without some controversy.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has more.

Chris Jenkins hopes to get the nod tonight after a steering committee recommends him to the full commission.

But some are questioning his qualifications and the fact that he doesn't have a state contractor's license.

Sevier County is looking to begin having building codes in the county for the first time ever.

The county commission is considering Chris Jenkins for the job.

Jenkins is a ten year contractor.

"I've seen the house come from nothing to finished and putting the sold sign on."

But Jenkins is not a state licensed contractor.

"As far as a license as a contractor or license as an inspector, the answer to both are no because both require a license."

One commissioner is questioning Jenkins qualifications for the job.

Max Watson, a Sevier County Commissioner says, "oh certainly, certainly I think he should know how to build a building if he's going to inspect one."

But Jenkins says he's finished part of the exam to get a license.

He says he's always partnered with a license holder to do his jobs.

Jenkins feels his experience makes him qualified.

"We know what the expectations of an inspector is because I've dealt with inspectors."

The commissions vote comes from a recommendation from a steering committee who heard Jenkins qualifications.

One commissioner says he's voting against Jenkins because he doesn't know what his qualifications are.

Jimbo Conner, a commissioner says, "it would be helpful to us if we could know what the applicants qualifications are. It would help us on how we needed to vote."

Watson says, "it seems like the steering committee is really steering the vehicle so to speak."

If he gets the nod, Jenkins says things won't change overnight.

He says an advisory committee of builders is being formed to help with adopting building codes for the county.

The county commission meets tonight at 7:00 pm.

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