Town officials hired a second deputy commissioner for the Building Department at a meeting last Tuesday, following increased demand for the department’s services.

Town Board members set the salary for Gabriel Garcia, who previously worked as a building inspector for the department, at $96,072 per year, and said he will start on Nov. 5— less than a week after a new budget is expected to pass on Nov. 1.

“The Building Department is getting a lot more applications and they really have need of two deputies,” Carole Trottere, a spokeswoman for the town, said.

It would not be unusual because other departments like public works have multiple deputies, Trottere added.

In an interview with Blank Slate Media, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said that the town issued 5,720 certificates of occupancy in 2016, a 1,023 increase from 2013 before she took office.

“That is an indication of the fact that more is being done,” Bosworth said, noting a long campaign to overhaul the Building Department.

Garcia’s salary for this year, as well as 2018, is being paid for through building permit fee increases. Trottere said that other personnel could be funded through these fees as well.

The department currently has 43 full-time employees, four part-time employees and one seasonal employee.

The Town of North Hempstead previously expressed interest in hiring a second deputy commissioner in May this year using fee reserves. At the time, the town had not budgeted money for a new deputy commissioner.

“This new position will enable the department to have additional supervision in overseeing issues such as illegal housing, rental registrations, and public assembly at restaurants, where the health, safety and welfare of residents is at stake,” Bosworth said at the time.

The Town Board then voted 7-0 in June to allow the building commissioner to appoint a second deputy.

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Janelle Clausen is a reporter with Blank Slate Media covering the Great Neck peninsula and Town of North Hempstead. She previously freelanced for the Amityville Record, Massapequa Post and the Babylon Beacon. When not reporting, the south shore native can usually be found buried in a book, playing video games or talking Star Wars.