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Hellyer completes re-inspections, claims ‘assault’ on his character

July 2, 2014 | Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW – Building Inspector Daniel Hellyer reported to the Board of Selectmen at a special meeting that he had completed a review of all of the complaints logged by resident John Turner and found that a minimal number of reported violations actually panned out.

During a previous board meeting involving himself and Foster on June 17, Hellyer agreed to re-inspect properties cited in more than 40 complaints made by Foster. On June 30, he said after numerous hours, he uncovered a total of six ticketed violations and two other infractions.

“I am done. I spent three nights and 10 hours during the day chasing all of these around. I don’t know who Mr. Turner’s sources are and I don’t care,” Hellyer said, indicating that time and resources had been expended on fruitless investigations.

In addition to concerns about the time spent addressing the reports, Hellyer took exception to the process, Turner’s accusations of dereliction of responsibilities, and the report of the previous meeting that was published by Reminder Publications.

“My character has been assaulted,” he said.

Turner, who has regularly appeared before the board with concerns, alleged during the June 17 meeting that Hellyer did not take action upon complaints filed and did not properly communicate the results of findings for inspections he performed. Turner was not present at the June 30 meeting.

Hellyer brought with him a large binder with evidence of his findings, sharing three specific incidences with the board.

The first, he said while displaying a picture, was a complaint regarding a landscaping vehicle on the property.

“Where is it?” Thorpe asked, to which Hellyer replied, “There is no vehicle.”

The second report he discussed was in regard to a complaint in which Turner said the homeowner had a landscape trailer for his business on his residential property.

“I spoke to the homeowner and he doesn’t own a landscaping business,” Hellyer said. “He is a motocross enthusiast and the trailer is for his motorcycle.”

The third complaint, also for landscaping equipment, proved false, he said, explaining he found no evidence to support the claim.

Selectman Paul Federici said the findings should also be provided to Turner “so the ball is in his court” in regard to appeals. Hellyer said he would put together a package for Turner, noting that the cost, should Turner decide to appeal every decision, would be approximately $3,000. He also asserted that Turner had never appealed any of Hellyer’s decisions when no violation was found.

Addressing a related issue, Selectman William Gorman said he received a letter sent to his home address that indicated a resident was considering legal action against Turner for harassment because of his repeated complaints. Gorman said he contacted the resident and informed the party that the Board of Selectmen was handling the situation. Gorman also reiterated sentiments he made known at the prior meeting that he felt Turner’s actions were on the verge of discrimination against residents who are tradesmen.

Chair Angela Thorpe said she understood Gorman’s opinions, but residents have the right to report what they perceive to be violations of the town’s bylaws.

Federici said residents must understand that while there might not be any outward signs of activity related to an investigation into a complaint, things are happening “behind the scenes.”

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