Oak Bluffs hires new building inspector

A benchmark Circuit Avenue property, the Hall family's large, disused Island Theater needs extensive repairs. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Updated 3:30 pm, Sept. 18

After an extensive search for a new building inspector, the board of selectmen voted unanimously to offer Mark Barbadoro the job following an interview at a special meeting on August 15. Town administrator Robert Whritenour negotiated the terms of the contract and announced the hire on Friday, Sept. 12.

Mr. Barbadoro is expected to start the job on Oct. 6, at an annual salary of $77,298.

Mr. Barbadoro has been the Acton building inspector for the past six years, and is a fully state-certified building commissioner, the state’s highest level of certification. “It was a difficult recruitment process, because there’s a dearth of state-certified building commissioners,” Mr. Whritenour told The Times.

Mr. Whritenour said that as part of the interview process, applicants faced highly technical questions prepared for the committee by structural engineer John Lolley. Mr. Barbadoro was “head and shoulders” above other applicants, he said.

“He’s also a very personable guy,” Mr. Whritenour said. “He’s a big believer in customer service.”
Selectman Gail Barmakian was also impressed. “I’m looking forward to working with him; he’s young and eager and he seems excited to become part of the Oak Bluffs community,” Ms. Barmakian told The Times in a telephone conversation Friday.

Mr. Barbadoro fills the vacancy left by former building inspector James Dunn, who submitted a letter of resignation to Mr. Whritenour in early June.  Although Mr. Dunn initially indicated his retirement would be effective at the end of that month, he stayed on on a part-time basis while town officials conducted their search.

Underscoring the difficulty the town was having filling the position, Mr. Whritenour consulted state officials for assistance and, at a joint meeting of the selectmen and town finance and advisory committee (FINCOM) on July 15, made a plea directly to the MVTV cameras, saying, “If anyone out there is a certified building inspector or knows a certified inspector, we have full-time or part-time work available.”

At the same meeting, the board voted unanimously to hire West Tisbury building inspector Ernest Mendenhall on a part-time basis until the replacement was found.
Before making his exit, Mr. Dunn took town officials by surprise when he said he planned to issue a “make safe or demolish” order to Benjamin and Brian Hall, owners of the decrepit Island Theater. Mr. Dunn later softened his stance, and called for a board of survey to inspect the building and to make a formal determination. Mr. Dunn retired before the board was fully assembled.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Mr. Dunn issued a make safe or demolish order. Mr. Dunn never issued the order.