Letter: No C of O for Taconic puts city at risk

Posted

To the editor:

I find it outrageous that the administration of the city of Pittsfield would choose to risk major liabilities by operating Taconic High School without a Certificate of Occupancy (Eagle, June 7.) This dangerous decision could have left this city in a perilous situation. Heaven forbid if any kind of disaster had happened, this administration would have exposed our city to major litigation.

A C of O is a legal document issued by the building department upon final inspection of an addition, new house, or a $120 million school. It is only issued when all the trades involved, wiring, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection and so on have been inspected and signed off by the appropriate inspector. That means all work meets all state codes and the inspector has approved the quality of work "up to codes." Then and only then does the building commissioner issue a C of O.

A temporary C of O is used when someone wants a C of O but does not comply. You either meet the criteria or you don't. Anyone who has had a problem obtaining a C of O knows the hoops you must do go thru to satisfy the inspectors.

The decision to operate Taconic without a C of O did not come from the building dept. Our building inspectors have too much integrity to jeopardize their reputation on such a foolish decision. The fact that the building maintenance director and the school superintendent say the school is safe carries no legal weight. The fact that three temporary C of Os were issued indicates many problems still exist. I can only wonder how happy the school and city insurance carriers are to know that this administration chose to put the city's students, teachers and faculty at risk by occupying a new school without the proper legally required documentation. These are the same tactics the mayor and the Office of Community Development are using with the Proprietors Lodge. Issuing temporary C of Os for areas that do not meet requirements for occupancy so Proprietors can open for a wedding without meeting the standards for a C of O is not acceptable.

It is wrong for the current administration to interfere with the operation of the building dept. at Taconic and at Proprietors Lodge.

Robert Snell,

Pittsfield

The writer is a member of Concerned Citizens for Ethical Government.

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