It’s time to fire Inspector Gotcha

I’m going to leave out names, because they really don’t matter. This is an issue of culture in City Hall, and it’s one that needed to be shown the door long ago.

Talking to another local small businessman, I heard yet another story of a small business opening being delayed by Inspector Gotcha. After turning in plans, building to plan, following inspections, when it was time for the final inspection and time to open, Inspector Gotcha jumped out and said “you can’t open, you didn’t enclose xxx.”

One week later, small businessman can open because he has now paid homage to the supreme power of Inspector Gotcha who smugly thinks this type of harassment is what he’s paid to do. And the stupid thing is, 99.9% of the time, if an existing business was doing the exact same thing- not only would Inspector Gotcha not be able to do a damn thing, but the business would be just fine.

Don’t think Inspector Gotcha is only in the Building inspection or permits, he also works for the health department, the fire department (sprinkler inspections), the auditor’s office, the list goes on. He’s more like a disease instead of a doctor- causing illness instead of curing it- no matter what he thinks his perfunctory role in society is.

If we want to see 1,000 new small businesses thrive and flourish in Dayton, we need to take the Inspector Gotchas out into a field and hold a ceremonial bonfire- burning up all their “stop work orders” and “temporary occupancy permits” and “conditional use” rulings. True professionals work to make sure that businesses open on time, to code, and provide safe places to do business. Hacks play Inspector Gotcha.

In fact, we should start fining inspectors for finding things after they’ve signed off on plans, or for delaying the opening of new businesses. It’s time to hold people accountable for adding the PITA (pain in the @$$) factor that they bring to doing business in Dayton.

If you have a PITA story from dealing with “Inspector Gotcha”- feel free to share it in comments- maybe if we have a central repository of stories- we can bring an end to the harassment and additional cost of doing business in Dayton.

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