Abandoned houses with windows broken, doors hanging by a hinge and yards knee-deep in grass, eventually are boarded up and the yards mowed. But for too many years in Dayton, Ohio, that duty fell to the city because a tangled web of banking laws made it nearly impossible for city officials to determine just who was responsible for the properties.
That is, until John Carter, AFSCME Local 101 member and a city housing inspector, began to untangle this web of banking bureaucracy. Thanks to his deft detective work, the city is now saving more than $50,000 a year in boarding costs and Carter has been named one of the eight “Public Officials of the Year,” chosen by Governing magazine.
In a post on AFSCME’s website, our colleague Clyde Weiss writes that once the houses were foreclosed and abandoned:
Banks would take ownership, Carter explains, “But you couldn’t locate anybody who would take responsibility” for boarding up a foreclosed house, or cutting the grass. So it became the city’s responsibility by default.