DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: STREAMLINE CODE ENFORCEMENT PROCESS

8-A – 8-H
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: STREAMLINE CODE ENFORCEMENT PROCESS
Problem Identification:
When compared to housing inspections in other cities, the number of housing code inspections performed by HCD’s 115 inspectors is low, resulting in inefficiency and inadequate service.

Recommended Action:
The following actions are recommended:1. Establish objective and realistic performance standards which promote HCD’s annual objectives. (The Deputy Commissioner has established preliminary performance standards for the housing inspectors.)
2. Institute regular and formal training of inspectors on code enforcement. Training should focus on the housing code itself, HCD procedures, technology changes, how to locate property owners and make available to them the tools to remedy violations.

3. Tie compensation and regular performance evaluations to the objective performance standards established for each inspector.

4. Identify a workable bonus system.

5. Assign inspectors by block which will reduce non-productive travel time and will facilitate follow-up on violation notices.

6. Establish case management approach to violations, in which an inspector monitors the case until the violation is addressed. Continue aggressive judicial enforcement of the housing code.

7. Require that all future inspectors have their own transportation (currently some inspectors must use public transportation which reduces their productivity)

8. Create one Inspections Division with one standardized classification system and pay scale for all inspectors at levels I, II and III. Do this by hiring new inspectors and training existing inspectors to perform multiple inspections, including interior, exterior, trash and other environmental inspections. (Currently inspectors are generally trained to perform only one type of inspection.)

9. Transfer the supervision of the Environmental Control Board inspectors from DPW to HCD.

10. Deploy properly programmed hand-held devices to record, store, retrieve and transmit housing code violation data. Deploy only after HCD has developed an in-house IT capability and plan and has completed reorganization of the inspection functions. Programming and training must be part of the deployment of these devices. (This initiative could be funded by state training grants to implement the SMART Code when adopted by Baltimore City ‘ see Recommendation #12-B).

11. Provide voice mail and call forwarding to all supervisors to facilitate internal and external communication. If in the field more than 15 percent of their time, they should be provided with mobile telephones.

Classification:
Organizational, Service Improvement

Function/Operation Area:
HCD Housing Inspection

Estimated Annual Impact:
Double inspector productivity and improve quality of inspections and case management (opportunity cost savings to HCD of $3.9 million).

Estimated Implementation Costs:
$560,676

Barriers to Implementation:

The following barriers are perceived to exist:
– Inspector resistance to change and higher standards of performance
– Union resistance
– Identifying non-profit sources for funding performance bonuses
– Finding funding for other implementation costs (e.g., training costs)
– DPW resistance to reassigning inspectors

Projected Implementation:
3-4 months

Next Steps:
Implement performance standards. Tie performance standards to performance evaluations Identify training needs

Analysis:

Costs

1) Providing Adequate Training for Inspectors

Assumptions:
– Two week training for new inspectors and/or inspectors moving from Level I to Level II (one-time training).
– Annual training, one week, on changes to laws/codes, changes in departmental procedure, and a refresher course on technical aspects of inspections.
– Training development and delivery will be contracted out.
– 40 hours of classroom time and 40 hours on-the-job training.
– Average rate (fully loaded) per contractor employee: $100.

Development of two-week training includes:
– Background research; and
– Development of participants’ manual, exercises, overhead slides with instructor notes.
— Development time: 4 people X 240 hours/person= 960 hours
— Development cost: (4 people @ $100/hr) X 240 hours/person = $96,000
— Development cost will not be incurred in subsequent years except for small amounts to modify curriculum.

Delivery of training includes:
– Trainer preparation;
– Printing of participants’ manual, exercises, overhead slides (without instructor notes); and
– Actual training time.
— Trainer time: 10 hours preparation time and 40 hours training time = 50 hours (assumes on-the job training portion will be provided by senior inspectors).
— Trainer cost: 50 hours X 100/hr = $5,000
— Printing cost: $10 per course participant or $200 (assumes 20 participants per course)
$5,000 + $200 = $5,200 per delivery
– Assumes course will be given twice in year one, once annually thereafter.
— Year One delivery cost: $5,200 X 2 = $10,400
— Year Two delivery cost: $5,200 X 1= $5,200

Training participation includes:
– Year one, attendance of 40 employees (new and level I)
— (20 employees X 2 deliveries) X 80 hours (classroom and on-the-job training) @ $18.53/hr. (fully loaded) = $59,296
– Thereafter, attendance of 20 employees per year.
— 20 employees X 80 hours @ $19.46/hr. = $31,136
— Development of one-week training includes:
– Background research; and
– Development of participants’ manual, exercises, overhead slides with instructor notes.
— Development time: 3 people X 240 hours/person = 720 hours
— Development cost: (3 people @ $100/hr.) X 240 hours/person= $72,000
— Development cost will be incurred annually because curriculum will change.

Delivery of training includes:
– Trainer preparation;
– Printing of participants’ manual, exercises, overhead slides (without instructor notes); and
– Actual training time.
— Trainer time: 10 hrs. preparation time and 40 hrs. training time = 50 hours
— Trainer cost: 50 hrs. X $100/hr. = $5,000
— Printing cost: $10 per course participant or $1,150 (assumes 115 participants per course)
$5,000 + $1,150= $6,150 per delivery (assumes 1 delivery per year)

Training participation includes:
– Year one, at 100 percent attendance
— 115 employees X 40 hrs. @ $18.53/hr.= $85,238
– Year two, at 100 percent attendance
— 115 employees X 40 hrs. @ 19.46/hr.(13)= $89,516

Year One
$ 96,000 (training development, 2-week course)
10,400 (training delivery, 2-week course)
59,296 (training participation, 2-week course)
72,000 (training development, refresher course)
6,150 (training delivery, refresher course)
83,238 (training participation, refresher course)

Total Year One costs $327,084 (14)

1) Cost of Upgrading all Level I Inspectors to Level II

Number of Level I Inspectors: 34
Average Salaries of Level I Inspectors: $24,911
Fringe benefits of Level I Inspectors @ 35%: $8,719
Average Salaries of Level II Inspectors: $27,770

Fringe benefits of Level II Inspectors @ 35%: $9,720
Salary Cost of Upgrading Level I Inspectors:

$27,770 + $9,720 = $37,490 (Average burdened salary, Level II)
($24,911 + $8,719) = ($33,630) (Average burdened salary, Level I)
$ 3,860 (salary increase per employee) X 34 (employees) $131,240

2) Travel Reimbursements to Inspectors

Assumes that if additional costs would be incurred by the City to reimburse inspectors for mileage rather than bus fare, that the additional costs would be minimal.

3) Training of inspectors and clerical staff in use of computer staff to research notices, etc.

Assumes that this training would be part of the refresher course training costed in item #1 above.

4) Providing hand-held devices to inspectors to manage data.

(Estimates based on ChannelTECH in Houston, TX which sells the Punch Caddy hand-held device):

To connect host office: $600 license fee per host
$150 support fee per host
—-
$750 total per host X 5 hosts (115 inspectors housed at 5 sites) = $3,750
For palm device: $600 license fee per unit
$100 support fee per unit

$700 total per unit X 115 inspectors + 10 extra = $87,500
For training: Assumes training costs mostly absorbed by general inspector training listed above.
Total cost (at minimum) of hand-held devices for 115 inspectors $91,250

5) Providing voice mail, call forwarding and mobile phones to supervisors.

Housing Inspection: 10 supervisors
Construction and Building Inspection: 3 supervisors
(Headquarters: 4 supervisors)

Total number supervisors needing voice mail, call forwarding and mobile phones: 13
At $50 per phone (minimum), hardware costs = 13 x $50 = $650
With monthly costs of $50 per phone (minimum), annual cost = 13 x ($50/month x 12 months) = $7,800

Total costs (at minimum) for mobile phones Year One: $8,450

Voice mail = $2 per month per line
Call forwarding (variable) = $15 per month per line

Total annual per line costs = $17/mo. X 12 mos. X 13 supervisors = $2,652

Total costs to add mobile phones, voice mail, call forwarding for
Inspection supervisors (Year One):$11,102

Total Cost of Recommendations (Year One only) $560,676

Benefits

Assumes increase of inspections from 20 to 40 per week per inspector

Current inspections: 115 inspectors X 20 inspections per week = 119,600 inspections per year
Projected inspections: 115 inspectors X 40 inspections per week = 239,200 inspections per year

Projected additional inspections: 239,200 – 119,600 = 119,600

Average annual salary per inspector: $ 28,542
Fringe benefits: $ 9,990
Total weekly salary plus fringe benefits: $ 38,532
X 115
Total Annual Payroll Costs (fully loaded) $4,431,180

At the current level of productivity (20 inspections per week per inspector), to double the number of inspections, the City would have to double its payroll.

Total opportunity cost savings to HCD $4,431,180
Net opportunity cost benefit to HCD (Year One) $3,870,504
(13) Assumes 5 percent increase in salaries/fringe in year two (and each subsequent year).
Year two costs would be lower because the orientation training would only have to be developed once and the number of participants would be fewer than in year 1. Year two training costs would be as follows:

(14) $ 5,200 (14) (training delivery, 2-week course)
31,136
(14) (training participation, 2-week course)
43,200
(14) (training development, refresher course)
6,150
(14) (training delivery, refresher course)
89,516
(14) (training participation, refresher course)

$175,202 (total year two costs)