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 both a Level I Certificate of Code Enforcement and—with the completion of additional credits—a Level II Certificate of Code Enforcement.
The goals of the Certificate of the Georgia Association of Code Enforcement 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 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 of County Commissioners, the Georgia Municipal Association, and the 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. Successful completion of the program results in participants receiving a certificate designation as code enforcement officer. Those interested in participating in the certificate program must be paid members in good standing of the GACE organization.
To be eligible to participate in the GACE officer 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; along with members of planning commissions; zoning boards of appeal; and Clean and Beautiful Commission directors, board members, 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 of appeal
- City and county attorneys
- Mayors and council members
- County commissioners
- Clean and Beautiful commissioners, directors, board members
The GACE Certificate Program offers two levels of training. Six core courses and a selection of electives totaling nine hours form the basic framework of Level I. Level II includes an additional five core courses and an additional 15 hours of electives.
Requirements for receiving a Level I certificate as a code enforcement officer include completion of a 45-hour curriculum (36 required hours and nine elective hours). A written exam is given after each required class, and you must successfully pass with a grade of 70 or better. Requirements for the Level II certificate as a code enforcement officer consist of an additional 45-hour curriculum (30 required hours and 15 elective hours) with the same requirement of successfully passing a written exam with a grade of 70 or better. The exams are not open book. Further, any improprieties (i.e. talking while taking the exam or the appearance of copying or discussing answers, and so on) are grounds for a failing grade of zero. All tests are monitored.
All of the classes are taught on a rotating schedule. Based on your choice of class selections, you can earn up to 15 hours of credit toward your certificate level at each of the two conferences offered annually—one in the spring and one in the fall.
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 in 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 better communicating in the workplace, and 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 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, non-regulatory 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 better 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 situations such as this, it will be necessary for code officers 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 makes it 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 a code officer 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 interaction with those in the community 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.
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 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 manufacturer's 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 insure 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 deal with these situations in an effective way. Also, participants will learn how to identify the owners of property and explore the rights and responsibilities of property ownership.
Hoarding (6 hours)
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 and 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 audiences gets the message and respond 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" interferes 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 will encourage a new commitment to the ideals of public service.
Promoting Community Support for Code Enforcement Programs (6 hours)
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 multi-task 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 the effective enforcement of local zoning codes. It explores the purpose of zoning codes, the zoning process, zoning district designations, and non-conforming uses.
A special Annual Update class is being added to the course offerings at the annual conference. This class is designed to satisfy the continuing education requirements for individuals who have completed Level I and II. The topic(s) for the Annual Update will differ at each annual conference.