Meet the BRC Team
Richard LaJoyDirectorPhone: 518-434-5995Biography
Formerly Deputy Director, Rick was promoted to Director of the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance in May 2018. "Since I came to work for the City, I've really enjoyed helping residents, whether it's tenants, landlords or builders," Rick says. "As an office, we strive to be efficient, transparent, easy to work with, and responsive to the needs of city residents. It's our mission to help Albany become an ever safer and more livable city for all residents."
His first position for the City was in 2015 as the Assistant Director of Operations in the City's Department of General Services. He's also worked as a building inspector for the County, overseeing the inspection of vacant buildings. Before that, he was a Union carpenter for 12 years and ran his own home remodeling company for eight years. For over a decade, he has had his own home inspection company. "I live and breathe this stuff," he says.
Outside of work, Rick is active in his church and spends time with his family.
Valerie ScottDeputy DirectorPhone: 518-434-5995Biography
"I think those of us in Code Enforcement take our jobs very seriously, as we should...we are First Preventers. It is our responsibility to help mitigate situations that put the public and First Responders in possible jeopardy." Valerie feels strongly about her chosen field and works to ensure her fellow Code Enforcement Officers receive continual training and networking opportunities.
Valerie has over 25 years of experience in the Public Safety sector, having worked for Albany County and the City of Albany in the field of Code Enforcement. She is a nationally recognized speaker, having presented on topics such as "Alternative Methods to Achieving Code Compliance: Sometimes You're the Carrot, Sometimes You're the Stick" and "Expanding the Tools in your Law Enforcement Toolbox."
She holds certifications from both New York State and the International Code Council. She is a member of both the New York State Building Officials and the Capital District Building Officials, for which she has served as Chapter Secretary and 2nd Vice President and continues to chair numerous committees, while currently serving as the 1st Vice-President. Valerie currently serves on the New York State Code Enforcement Disaster Assistance Response Team (CEDAR).
She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Daniel ShermanSenior Building InspectorPhone: 518-434-5995Biography
Daniel Sherman has been involved in Code Enforcement for over 28 years. He is Certified by New York State as a Code Enforcement Officer and Instructor, Fire Instructor, First Responder, Level II Fire Investigator and HazMat Responder, in addition to many other certifications.
Daniel is a member of the New York State Building Officials Conference and currently serves as President for the Capital District Building Officials Conference. He has worked for the County of Albany and currently serves on the City of Albany Critical Asset Assessment Team (CAAT) and the New York State Code Enforcement Disaster Assistance Response Team (CEDAR) Team.
One of Dan's hobbies, as many who have been to a New York State County Fair have seen, is early American woodworking with a bit of axe throwing on the side.
Joshua GoldSenior Code Enforcement InspectorPhone: 518-434-5995
Monique KimbleSenior ClerkPhone: 518-434-5995Biography
Monique serves the public by answering public queries by phone, email, mail, or at the front counter. She also oversees the vacant buildings registry and public assembly permits. "My philosophy is to treat people the way I want to be treated," she says. "People are here for help, and we want them to have a positive experience. If I can make it easier and less stressful, I've done my job."
As well as working two stints in the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, Monique has worked for the City since 1996 for the City Clerk's Office, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of General Services, and the Department of Assessment.
Iris JohnsonPermit TechBiography
Iris Johnson is in the business of "customer service," as she puts it, answering public queries by phone, email, mail, or at the front counter. She says, "When co-workers or customers come to me and say 'Can you help me,' I say 'Yes,' and then I figure it out." One of her favorite parts of the job: "You learn something new every day."
Iris speaks German, and likes to learn, saying, "I haven't met a book or documentary I don't like."
Kahdesha JosephInformation ClerkBiography
A life-long resident of Albany, Kahdesha previously worked in the healthcare field, but she found the work very physically demanding. "I was looking for a change to clerical and the City of Albany gave me the opportunity," says Kahdesha, an information clerk. She likes the other front end staff in the Department-there's a lot of camaraderie and laughter, she says-and has enjoyed learning about code enforcement. The public is another plus. "I'm dealing with all types of people," she says. "Different ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, and you can't help but learn a lot. There's never a dull moment here."
In her off hours, Kahdesha likes to spend time with family and friends.
Ashley VanAlstyneInformation ClerkBiography
Ashley has worked in customer service for most of her adult life. "I'm a people person so it just came naturally," says Ashley, an information clerk. She went to college at Johnson and Wales, where she studied business management. She likes the people in the Department and the work. "The job is a challenge, but in a rewarding way," she says. "Customers help me grow as a person. Sometimes they teach me what they know, sometimes it's patience, and sometimes I experience what it's like to walk in somebody else's shoes."
Ashley has always loved to learn-she's a voracious reader and used to pick up a word a day when she was younger. "Since I've been here, I've learned something new every day," she says. In her spare time Ashley reviews newly released mysteries and romance novels.
Harold, known as Van, answers public queries by phone, email, mail, or at the front counter and often sets up schedules for the Code inspectors. He previously worked in the Albany Fire Department, rising to lieutenant over 30 years. "I retired there on a Friday and started here on a Monday," he says. "People come in here with problems. I listen and try to hear them out. Whether it's mice, or leaking water, or whatever, our job is to get someone in there to inspect and begin to correct the problem."
Outside of his day job, Van has an appliance repair business and helps his wife with their two English Springer Spaniels, one of which has won best of breed in competition. "It's like having little kids. You have to teach them what to do."
Samuel WellsNeighborhood Stabilization CoordinatorBiography
Sam Wells is the city's vacant buildings coordinator, leading the effort to make many of the city's roughly 1,050 vacant buildings habitable again. "My focus is finding solutions to vacant buildings in Albany and getting them re-occupied," Sam says. "It's challenging and unique task." Sam notes that the vacant building problem is multi-layered, with solutions dependent on the condition of a building, where it's located, and ownership and legal issues.
Sam is also a board member of the Albany County Land Bank and is working with the Vacant Buildings Task Force to come up with policy solutions.
When Sam is not analyzing Albany's vacant buildings, you will likely find him playing ice hockey on a pond or in a rink, such as Swinburne Park.
Jeffrey DooleySenior Electrical InspectorBiography
Jeff worked as a self-employed electrical contractor for 20 years before taking his current position inspecting all the electrical work being done in the city, a post he took in 2002. "It's all about safety," Jeff says. "I'm working to prevent electrical hazards. We need to make sure we're keeping the city safe for all the people who live and visit here... I enjoy the work I do, interacting with people around the City, although it pains me to come down hard sometimes on contractors. But that's my job."
If you can't find Jeff on a long weekend in the summer, he says, it's because "I've gone camping."
Edward Foley, Jr.Plumbing InspectorBiography
Ed started his career with the department in 2002. As Plumbing Inspector, Ed's responsibilities include performing inspections, planning reviews of plumbing, heating and cooling systems, making revisions in the area of new construction and alterations to existing buildings. "It's challenging work," Ed says. "I see to it that the health and safety of the people in the City of Albany are protected and plumbing work is installed to comply with code. I am proud to say I have a good working relationship with the Albany's licensed plumbers. I like what I do."
Ed has over 30 years of experience in the plumbing industry and also serves as a Plumbing Instructor, educating the next generation.
Eileen HalloranBuilding InspectorBiography
As a Building Inspector, Eileen's job is to ensure that new construction, additions, and renovations are built according to state and city building and fire codes. Her duties include reviewing applications, conducting pre-approval inspections, researching codes and properties, and inspecting work for compliance. Eileen started working as a Building Inspector in 2015, taking the post after 27 years as a union carpenter.
Education is a large part of her work. "I try to help people comply with the code," Eileen says. "I explain code to them the best I can." Her job is "all about safety. I'm making sure that those responsible have all the safety components in place for occupancy."
Eileen spends much of her free time with her granddaughters.
Justin LawtonBuilding InspectorBiography
A life-long resident of Albany, Justin's family has deep roots in the Albany community. His great-grandfather was a builder in Albany, and in his travels around the City Justin can spot many of the houses and apartments that he built. His father, Paul Lawton, has been with the Albany Fire Department for 27 years and is now a fire investigator.
Justin owns a property management company. "I've always been around properties," he says. "And I really like Albany history." One of his favorite parts of being a Building Inspector is the property legwork it involves. "Before I see a place, I usually do a lot of research on the property," he says, adding that he likes being out in the community. "I enjoy the contact with the property owners and the tenants. I took the job because I think I can make a difference for the quality of life in the community and for residents. We keep people safe. That's what my job is. And one day is never like another. The work is always changing and evolving."
Bruce LoganBuilding InspectorBiography
Bruce, who grew up in Albany, has had a varied career. He started as a music teacher, then he did cabinetry work, and after that he worked for many years overseeing office rehabs nationally for Davies Office in Albany. In his current post, he likes traveling around the City in his job.
"I'm not a desk guy," he says. "I get to visit people and places in every corner of Albany." One of the things he likes most about being an inspector is the work atmosphere in the Building and Codes Department. "I'm grateful to have this job, and the people I work with are great, interesting people. Everybody gets along and works together." In his spare time, he likes to take his boat out on Lake George, where he lived before returning to Albany.
David LussierBuilding InspectorBiography
As a Building Inspector, "I do my best to move projects along and to usher permits, start to finish, through the process," David says. "My goal is to streamline the process, to make things go smoothly. It can be difficult because there's a lot of old buildings that are not conforming and the code is always changing." What he likes about the job is that it "keeps me busy. The days go by like lightning."
In his spare time, David likes to work on a recently purchased house, although it's "nothing that requires permits."
Alfred HargettCode Enforcement InspectorBiography
Before moving to Albany three years ago, Alfred worked in construction in NYC for 32 years, where he learned how to hang sheetrock and frame a building, do plumbing and electrical, and even how to lay brick. When he came to Albany, he got a job at Home Depot, and had stints in practically every department. One day, Alfred was serving an Albany Building Inspector who suggested that he had the right experience for a job in the Codes Department. Alfred was hired as a Code Enforcement Inspector.
When he lived in New York City, Alfred was both a renter and a landlord. "So I understand both sides," he says. "I see my job as helping property owners and tenants understand what needs to be done to comply with the Code. Respecting the Code benefits them and the communities around them. I like what I see the Mayor doing," he says. "She's helping the City to grow stronger and improve its look, its housing, and she's getting rid of vacant buildings. I wish I had come to the City sooner because I like participating in change."
Alfred is also a pastor. "I really enjoy serving people because that's what it's about. If I can't help, I try to find someone who can." In his spare time, Alfred makes jewelry, draws and paints.
Corey NorfleetCode Enforcement InspectorBiography
Previously, Corey has held a variety of jobs, including courier, construction worker, and maintenance worker. He took the job as a Code Enforcement Inspector because, he says, "I wanted more experience working in the property field." Corey's family has always owned apartment buildings, but Corey never knew what happened behind-the-scenes to keep them safe for all involved. "I didn't know about fire codes and building codes," he says. "It's about safety. That's what I tell people: 'Do what's safe.'
I've lived in Albany my entire life and it's good to do something that makes the city look better too. I like being a helping hand." He also likes absorbing information. "You can't do the job well unless you keep learning." He also enjoys a job that puts him in contact with people day-in and day-out. "We talk to people all day long," he says. "You never know who you're going to meet and that makes it interesting."
Ryan RusieckiCode Enforcement InspectorBiography
After graduating Hudson Valley Community College with a criminal justice degree, Ryan served in the U.S. Army infantry for 4 ½ years, where he deployed in Lithuania and Poland. He came back home to the Capital District in 2018, and started working in the Codes Department later that year.
"I like being able to get out in the field," he says. "You're helping the City look better and helping make sure the places people live are safe. It's definitely a job where you can find a sense of fulfillment." His passion outside of work? Sports - particularly the Yankees, Jets, and Nets.
Sergio SantanaCode Enforcement InspectorBiography
Sergio Santana sees his job as working to make sure that tenants and landlords live up to their responsibility in maintaining their properties. "We have to ensure people are getting a fair and honest treatment from their landlords," he says. "Tenants also have to take care of their housing so that landlords can enjoy the fruits of their investment." To do the job well, "we have to be knowledgeable about the code and exercise fairness across the board," he says. What he enjoys most about his work is "meeting different people. It gives you a feeling for the community."
Sergio has a social work background. "Everything I've done has been oriented to the public." He's done property maintenance as well, where he gained a knowledge of buildings. Off-hours, Sergio enjoys films, photography, cooking, and participating in cultural events around the city.
John TarverCode Enforcement InspectorBiography
John Tarver, who began as a Code Enforcement Inspector in 2016, was raised in Albany, and is sometimes referred to as "The Mayor" around town. "I know a lot of people," he says, "and they speak highly of my character." He previously worked in human services with kids at institutions such as St. Catherine's Center for Children, Parsons Child and Family Center, and the City School District of Albany.
John also sees his current work as a form of service. "I treat the public as if they were my family, because they're part of my community," John says. "When I do my inspections, ninety % of my job is to educate the public on fire safety, good property management, and all the things that ensure the safety of human life. I take my job very seriously."
John loves to travel and speaks Spanish, which has drawn him to Latin American countries. He says: "I'm all about growth and learning."