Certificate of the Georgia Association of Code Enforcement
Code enforcement officials are able to further their knowledge and identify best management practices when dealing with code enforcement issues through this certificate program. Participants have an opportunity to earn a Level I Certificate, a Level II Certificate, and, with the completion of additional credits, a Level III Certificate.
The goals of the Georgia Association of Code Enforcement Certificate Program are to
- Encourage professionalism in public code enforcement administration throughout Georgia
- Increase knowledge of the major aspects of code enforcement administration
- Develop skills necessary for the enforcement of environmental, housing, and land use codes
About the Program
The Georgia Association of Code Enforcement (GACE) is a professional organization dedicated to establishing responsible code enforcement practices throughout local governments in Georgia and to the professional development of its members. The GACE Certificate Program, provided by the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, is sponsored by GACE in cooperation with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The program is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of those persons responsible for the enforcement of environmental, housing, and land use codes in Georgia. Those interested in participating in the certificate program must be paid members of GACE in good standing.
To be eligible to participate in the GACE certificate program, an individual must
- Be a GACE member throughout the entire program
- Be willing to uphold the by-laws of the organization
- Be an honest/ethical person
Who Will Benefit
The workshop is designed to interest virtually all local public officials involved in code enforcement. It is an opportunity for code enforcement officers, elected officials, city and county attorneys, members of planning commissions, zoning boards; Clean and Beautiful Commissions; and professional staff to attend a meeting of importance to each of them.
- Code enforcement officers
- Housing officials and inspectors
- Zoning administrators
- Environmental and solid waste inspectors
- City and county planners
- Members of planning commissions
- Members of zoning boards
- City and county attorneys
- Mayors and council members
- County commissioners
- Clean and Beautiful commissioners, directors, board members
The GACE Certificate Program offers three levels of training.
To receive a Level I certificate, participants must complete 45 hours of course work (36 hours of required courses and nine hours of electives) and pass a written exam after each required class with a grade of 70 or better. Requirements for the Level II certificate consist of an additional 45 hours of coursework (30 hours of required courses and 15 hours of electives) with the same requirement of successfully passing a written exam for each required course with a grade of 70 or better. Earning a Level III certificate requires the completion of 75 hours in a separate curriculum consisting of technical and leadership courses. Upon successful completion of all coursework, participants must write a reflection paper on selected courses taken.
All of the classes in each level of training are taught on a rotating schedule. Based on course selections, a participant can earn up to 15 hours of credit toward a certificate at each of the two conferences offered annually, one in the spring and one in the fall.
Level I and Level II Required Courses
Cultural Differences in Code Enforcement
Georgia has a very diverse population, many segments of which are unfamiliar with the property maintenance expectations of the local governments where they live. The work of the code enforcement officer can be significantly enhanced by knowing more about the languages and cultures of diverse groups. This session will give participants tools and insights to interact with greater cultural sensitivity, and to do so in a manner that is more likely to result in cooperation with code officers and compliance with their requests.
Each week, code officers encounter and communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and members of the public. This course demonstrates how to communicate in a way that enhances workplace effectiveness. Participants will learn skills for communicating better in the workplace, and they will engage in exercises to access their present skills and practice new ones.
Enforcement Techniques and Investigation Process
Code officers must use the most effective enforcement techniques possible to bring property owners into compliance with code ordinances and proper investigative processes when property owners refuse to comply. In this class, participants will learn methods for making and resolving enforcement cases including standard procedures, proper documentation, public education concerning code issues, nonregulatory enforcement techniques for accomplishing code enforcement policy goals, and ways to create opportunities for compliance. Participants will also learn fundamentals of building a defensible case based on properly executed investigation processes. Topics will include investigation, evidence, search warrants and inspection warrants, statements, Subpoenas Duces Tecum, and legal processes.
Environmental Protection and Environmental Nuisance Abatement
This course examines various environmental issues including how to protect the ecosystems and natural processes that must remain balanced for our communities to sustain a high quality of life. This course also covers recycling, air and water pollution, insects, noxious weeds, erosion and sedimentation, and other environmentally based nuisances.
Handling Special and Hazardous Materials
This class will outline how a code enforcement officer should deal with asbestos, demolition waste, barrels containing unknown substances, paint, and other chemicals. All of these present problems for the code enforcement officer, especially where there is not a readily available responsible party. Representatives from Georgia EPD will discuss current laws and practices relevant to every code officer who must deal with these enforcement issues.
Housing and ICC Property Maintenance
This course provides an overview of the housing rehabilitation process. Topics include identifying and estimating deterioration, providing notification to owners and tenants, coordinating work between agencies, and working with owners and tenants to obtain compliance.
Legal Aspects in Local Government Code Enforcement
This class will provide an understanding of the legal foundation upon which code enforcement rests. Participants will learn many of the legal parameters in which they must work, including the history of ordinances and their enforcement, the hierarchy of laws and courts, the structure of local government, constitutional provisions relating to enforcement cases, "home rule," state laws relevant to enforcement cases, common ordinance provisions, types of court proceedings and the courts in which they are brought, and legal procedures.
Planning Concepts and Dealing with Citizen Groups
Code compliance can have a direct impact on a city's or county's development objectives, but coordinating these functions requires that the two disciplines understand each other. Further, planners and developers work more with volunteer boards than do code enforcement officers, but understanding how these citizen groups work is also important to achieving development and code enforcement objectives. This course discusses fundamental planning concepts and how code enforcement work should be coordinated with planning and zoning, especially in growth areas.
Preparing a Case for Court
In some cases, code officers are unable to get code violators to come into compliance with ordinances without taking their cases to court. In such situations, code officers must do their jobs in such a way as to aid in preparing these cases for court. In this class, code officers will learn key information that will assist them in preparing a case for court, including important factors to consider, case strategy, tips for drafting citations, legal options, and using sentencing or other remedies available to obtain compliance.
Public Service Ethics
Public service ethics are driven by a set of values that are distinct from ethics practiced in everyday private life. Participants will examine the importance of ethical conduct in the administration of their public duties in this essential course. Also, they will gain knowledge about ethical practices that apply to public employees and will analyze ethical dilemmas that code officers might face during the discharge of their duties. Differences between compliance with law and ethical practice will also be explored.
Safety Tactics and In-Field Safety for Code Enforcement Officials
A code enforcer's interactions with community members can turn hostile. Learn how to spot the early warning signs of hostility and how to deal with hostile situations when you find yourself in the midst of them. Also, field inspections can go bad. Learn about preparing for inspections with an emphasis on code officer safety. Learn to anticipate danger and develop steps to enhance the safety of inspection sites such as overgrown fields, dilapidated buildings, derelict trailers, and old industrial sites.
Signage and Right-of-Way Encroachments
Right-of-way encroachments come in many forms including signs, trailers, landscaping, vehicles, drainage structures, and more. In addition, adjoining property owners often do not realize where their property ends and where public property begins. They consider the public right-of-way to be theirs to use as they please. Regardless of the types of ordinances cities and counties may adopt to regulate public rights-of-way, local governments have liability for what goes on in these areas. Consequently, encroachment and right-of-way issues must be addressed. This course will focus on how to treat these issues fairly, uniformly, and in a manner that complies with current statutes and case law.
Level I and Level II Elective Courses
Airborne Viruses, Mold, and Bacteria
The scope of local enforcement activity as it pertains to airborne viruses, mold, and bacteria continues to expand as more and more information about these human hazards becomes known. Although the responsibility for enforcement matters relating to these hazards may be shared with environmental, public health, and other government offices, the science, enforcement tenets, and practices are similar. This class provides information on airborne viruses, mold, and bacteria for the code officer who is called upon to monitor situations involving these substances.
We all may experience conflict on the job with those with whom we work and serve. In this course, code officers will learn different methods, strategies, and communication tactics for managing and diffusing theirs and others' anger when challenging situations arise.
Basic Supervisory Skills
Many code officers are responsible for supervising and directing others. As such, proper supervision is important. In fact, some studies show that many resignations occur because the person leaving his/her position is dissatisfied with the quality of supervision he/she receives. This course discusses some of the most important aspects of good supervision, including motivation, delegation, task alignment, and teamwork.
The successful code officer must be able to communicate effectively in writing. Documents must be written in a professional and business-like style and format. Participants in this course will learn basic skills that will assist them in writing effectively, and they will complete a written exercise such as a stop work order, a notice to comply, or a letter of condemnation.
In this course, the realities of a rapidly changing work environment will be discussed. The dynamics of change and why people tend to resist change will be considered along with appropriate responses to change. Using actual examples, code enforcers will prepare a personal mission statement as a way to address their response to current, evolving, or probable changes in their work environment.
Code Enforcement and Mobile Homes
This course will provide an overview of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 as well as Georgia laws regulating the installation of homes without installation manuals. Also, it will cover manufacturers' installation instructions, regulations pertaining to siding and roofing installation and completion, and laws pertaining to demolition and disposal.
Codes and Fire Suppression
Code officers are required to deal with a wide range of enforcement issues. Some concern fire hazards. This course will address rules, procedures, and practices relevant to burning, fire prevention and suppression, and NFPA resources available to code officers.
In this course, participants will learn that providing high-quality service to external customers begins with effective internal processes. They will learn how to examine the needs of internal customers within their places of work in order to achieve better working relationships and more efficient processes, all of which will enhance the services provided to their external customers. In addition, techniques for handling difficult customers will be addressed.
Disaster Recovery and Debris Removal
Learn best practices for preparing and planning for the code officer's role in these situations. In the aftermath of natural disasters or when simply dealing with the removal of debris, code enforcement officers must work closely with public works employees and, sometimes, with state and federal officials to ensure safe and efficient clean-up and recovery.
Drugs, Chemicals, and Other Contraband
Persons who may, coincidentally, be in possession of illegal substances may receive an unrelated visit from a local code officer or be the subject of a citizen complaint. This course will help code enforcement officers learn more of the signs and evidences of illegal activity that can be turned over to sheriff/police officers—possibly resulting in help obtaining compliance regarding the violations originally investigated. The session will offer strategies for enhancing interdepartmental cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
Financially Troubled and Abandoned Properties
The job of the code enforcement officer is made especially difficult when dealing with properties that are financially troubled such as with situations involving bankruptcy and foreclosure or when properties are abandoned. Often the owners of these properties are in crisis and are slow to respond to code enforcement citations. Nonetheless, code enforcement work must be done. In this course, participants will learn how to effectively deal with these situations. Also, participants will learn how to identify the owners of property and explore the rights and responsibilities of property ownership.
In this course, participants will learn what hoarding is and why some people become hoarders. The class will also explore the dangers of hoarding and how to work with hoarders to resolve dangerous situations.
Homeland Security in Code Enforcement
The course will address the topic of Homeland Security. It will focus on how federal, state, and local security issues impact the work of code enforcement. Participants will learn how to stay vigilant and alert in order to spot the warning signs of a potential security breach as well as which federal, state, and local organizations or agencies to contact in the face of an actual or suspected security-related situation.
Making Public Presentations
The quality of an oral presentation, including the use of visuals, can directly impact whether an audience gets the message and responds favorably. This course will cover ways to organize and deliver public presentations, strategies for developing and using appropriate visuals, and techniques for keeping an audience focused throughout a presentation.
New Technologies in Code Enforcement
Technology can make the job of code enforcement more effective and efficient if it is understood and compatible with other technology already in place. The course will review technologies currently being used by code enforcement officers, new technologies available for use, how to justify the acquisition of technology for code enforcement, and how to use technology for the maximum benefit of your local jurisdiction.
Politics in Code Enforcement
The word "politics" often carries a negative connotation. Further, some people feel that politics interfere with their work. This course will help code officers understand the unique perspective of elected officials. Also, the course will explore how code officers can work productively with elected officials.
Principles of Leadership for the Code Enforcement Officer
Code officers occupy positions of leadership, perhaps because of the staff they supervise, but also because they enforce policies that bring about change in communities. Understanding the role of the code officer as a local leader places the job of code enforcement and the value of the service provided by code officers in a larger context. This session will help code enforcers better understand the impact of the service they provide to local government and its citizens, and it will encourage a new commitment to the ideals of public service.
Promoting Community Support for Code Enforcement Programs
Building Citizen Support for Code Enforcement Programs will focus on strategies for engaging citizens, agencies, and organizations to support and promote local code enforcement initiatives. The course will include a look at how to use personal and professional attributes to foster relationships and to create a proactive code enforcement department. Best practices for proactive code enforcement programs will be reviewed. Participants will have the opportunity to analyze their current department and consider new strategies.
Time and Stress Management
This course will outline methods to "de-stress" your work environment. We work in situations where we are required to multitask and "do more with less." Also, we must prioritize. Are you doing the most important work first or just the easy tasks that you can cross off your list of things to do? In this class, you will learn to manage your time and everyday interruptions more effectively. Also, you will learn how to get more done in less time and control the negative aspects of stress.
Zoning Code Enforcement
The course will outline the basic methods needed for effectively enforcing local zoning codes. It explores the purpose of zoning codes, the zoning process, zoning district designations, and nonconforming uses.
Level III Courses
Technical Rotation — Course Descriptions:
Each year code enforcement officers serving as department heads are required to prepare, submit, and administer their departmental budgets. The successful development and presentation of a code enforcement budget will have much to do with the success of the code enforcement office from which it originates. In this course, participants will develop goals, objectives, and performance measures for departmental budgets. The course will also include a discussion of best practices for budget building, budget terms, financially mandated requirements, and processes for preparing and managing budgets.
Business Writing II
This course will review the foundations of writing from Business Writing I including grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. In addition, the class will focus on drafting documents such as letters, emails, memoranda, and short reports.
ICC Legal Management
This course provides an overview of the material covered on the 2012 ICC Legal/Management Module Certification Examination. The following materials will be reviewed: 2012 International Building Code, 2012 International Fire Code, 2012 International Property Maintenance Code, 2012 International Residential Code, 2002 Legal Aspects of Code Administration, 2007 Building Department Administration Manual, 3d Ed., Basic Code Enforcement manual (2002 or newer ed.), Human Resource Management: An Essential Guide, 3d Ed., and A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, 2d Ed.
ICC Property Maintenance
This course provides an overview of the material covered on the ICC Property Maintenance Certification Examination. The class will review and provide a greater understanding of the Legal Aspects of Code Enforcement as well as basic 2012 Property Maintenance Code. Also, it will include a brief review of material found in the 2012 International Residential Code that impacts the ICC Property Maintenance Code.
The ICC Zoning Code promotes uniformity and consistency in zoning for city planners, code officials, and developers. This course provides an overview of the material covered on the ICC Zoning Certification Examination, including legal aspects of zoning, use districts, the duties of Zoning officials and planning commissions, and how the zoning process works.
This course will provide an overview of topics that should be addressed by a code enforcement ordinance with emphasis on differences between various types of jurisdictions—rural, suburban, and metropolitan—as well as jurisdictions that have different needs based on such things as topography and land features. In addition, participants will examine sample ordinances to see how they are written. The class will conclude with ordinance writing exercises.
Soil Erosion and Sedimentation
This course provides an overview of the material covered on the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Certification Exam. It covers the definitions and general stages of erosion and sedimentation, basic processes and factors governing erosion and sedimentation, a comparison of natural erosion and accelerated erosion, and the environmental and economic impacts of erosion and sedimentation.
Leadership Rotation — Course Descriptions
Coaching and Positive Discipline
As a manager, the ability to effectively coach employees is both a responsibility and a critical skill. This course will focus on the basics of supportive communication, the difference between coaching and counseling, and strategies to decrease unproductive behavior and maximize performance. Participants will practice coaching and positive discipline methods that have proven to be effective.
Conflict Management and Resolution
In this course, participants will identify sources of conflict and consider their implications. Conflict resolution strategies will be described, compared, and practiced. In this way, the code enforcement manager will be better equipped to resolve or diffuse commonplace workplace conflict by enacting the most appropriate resolution strategy.
Continuous improvement is a path to more efficient and effective operational processes. This course will introduce concepts of learning organizations and systems thinking, and basic quality tools will be presented and practiced. In addition, practical possibilities for continuous improvement in code enforcement work will be identified.
The ability to communicate effectively is a core management competency. Although communication may seem like a simple concept, miscommunication creates confusion, conflict, and frustration and can diminish a code enforcer's capacity for effective leadership. Course participants will focus on enhancing workplace communication skills through practice, exercises, and an increased understanding of the components of effective communication.
Ethical Use of Power
This course provides an overview of governmental ethics by highlighting the principles and issues most relevant to local governments. Participants will increase their understanding of public sector ethics and recognize the need to continuously clarify and reinforce organizational values. Ethical decision-making and power and its sources will be addressed, along with the potential for abuse of power. Participants will analyze some ethical dilemmas that code enforcement and other local government managers might encounter. In addition, transforming power into influence, selecting an appropriate influence strategy, and acting assertively will be discussed.
Leading Teams and Group Dynamics
One requirement of an effective team leader is to possess a fundamental understanding of group dynamics. This course will explore the notion that diversity in team member experience, talent, and personality preference is a key determinant of productive, effective workplace teams. It will also examine the appropriate use of teams in the workplace, the challenges that many face, and ways to overcome those challenges. Course participants will gain an understanding of the team leader's facilitation responsibilities and how successful, productive teams develop and promote organizational success.
Effectively managing the performance of an entire work unit or an individual employee requires multiple competencies but is significantly enhanced through the use of objective measurement. In other words, quantitative measures, qualitative measures, and productivity measures as well as understanding financial and human resources help determine the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization or department. In this course, performance management as an ongoing effort and important tool of effective managers will be explored. Performance evaluations and appraisals will be considered as one component of performance management.
Motivation and Delegation
Cultivating a motivating work environment is but one of a manager's many responsibilities. Yet successfully fulfilling this single responsibility yields many organizational benefits in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and reduced costs. Understanding job satisfaction and assessing the workplace environment to determine the factors that might motivate and demotivate employees will be considered. In this course, participants will explore the Situational Leadership® Model and acquire knowledge about how to apply it, its relevance to delegation, and the benefits that can be accrued through its application. Code enforcement managers will gain additional tools and strategies for increasing employee motivation, thereby enhancing performance.
This course will provide an overview of the changes that code officers may face in local government currently and into the future. Participants will learn about a model for navigating change effectively that may be used whether responding to changing conditions or leading positive change efforts. Classroom activities will include the opportunity to put this model to action, using its steps on actual examples and considering how it could be applied in various situations. Although the effects of change cannot be predicted, applying these steps can help one prepare to effectively and positively navigate change.
Negotiation and Mediation
From interpersonal relationships with co-workers and employees to working with citizen groups, managers are negotiating either informally or formally, to some degree, on a daily basis. During this course, negotiation and mediation will be defined and compared. The factors that enable and hinder effective negotiation will be explored. Recommended alternatives to resolving complex and difficult issues will be presented. The steps to a successful negotiation process will be outlined and practiced with common code enforcement manager situations considered.
While interpersonal communication is a critical managerial skill, managers must also present ideas, concepts, projects, recommendations, and reports to groups. Through practice activities, participants will gain skills in developing presentation content and delivering highly effective presentations to various audiences encountered in the workplace. Tips for addressing the media will also be addressed.
Public Sector Leadership
While some characteristics are shared, leading in the public sector is different from leading in the private sector. Code enforcers become public leaders by virtue of their employment; therefore, a broad understanding of public sector leadership is critical to the code enforcement manager's organizational success and effectiveness. This course will explore foundational public service values in the context of the fundamental challenges experienced when leading in the public sector. Managing and leading in today's code enforcement environment will be considered.
Role of the Manager
Occupying an organizational place between employees and executive leadership, managers can be found at various organizational levels. While specific manager duties may differ by organization, any local government manager fills a broad range of roles in their day-to-day activities. Using a competing values framework, the course outlines and explores managerial roles that are shared by most managers—though exercised to varying degrees. Course activities will highlight the skills and abilities needed for effective management and clarify the responsibilities of the code enforcement manager.
Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to determine where you are, where you need or want to be, and how to get there. This course will teach code enforcers how to exercise appropriate discretion in the areas under their control to ensure responsiveness to citizens and stakeholders, to develop good strategies to deal with changed and changing circumstances, and to develop a basis for decision-making. During this interactive course, participants will explore the key components and processes of sound strategic planning.
Every three years, those who have attained Level I or Level II certification must complete 36 hours of continuing education. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking electives not previously taken or by taking courses in the Level III curriculum.