LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The City of Lansing’s Former Manager for Code Enforcement Scott Sanford shared his thoughts on the decision to step down.
The news comes as units at Autumn Ridge Apartments were red-tagged.
The City has accused the owners of not having the proper licensing for years. The complex owners, however, dispute that claim.
The Holmes Apartments has been condemned by the city as tenants deal with trash, bugs, and other issues. Some of the residents were moved to the Pacific Apartments on Kalamazoo Street.
But pink tags have gone up there as well.
Sanford said he’s been thinking about retirement for a while but issues with other city leaders ultimately led to his decision to leave sooner than expected.
While working for the city for the last 23 years, he most recently held the position of “Manager of Code Enforcement.” Sanford’s last day was Friday.
“It got to the point where politics got in the way of me being able to do my job,” Sanford said.
He added that he did the best he could with the staff and resources he had.
“You have roughly 29,000 rental properties in the City of Lansing with 11 code officers. It’s tough,” he continued.
Many units in the city are red-tagged and considered unlivable, yet landlords continue to rent them out.
“We’re not police officers. We can’t stop them. But then again, you can’t go out and displace 860 units,” Sanford said.
As for his sudden retirement, Sanford said it all started last year.
“I said something in a meeting in August that I probably shouldn’t have said. I only said it once in a closed-door meeting with my staff but somehow it got out and got to [the] city council,” he said.
After an investigation, City Council President Carol Wood wanted to prevent Sanford from coming to any meetings.
“She basically said that if I was going to continue to do my job and go to the council meetings as I had and represent my office that she wasn’t going to hold a meeting the rest of the year. So, they prevented me from doing my job,” he continued.
Wood said she has no regrets about how the council members handled the situation.
“We felt the culture that he in a leadership with code compliance was detrimental to working with [the] council,” Wood said
“Absolutely stand by that decision. And his choice to retire was his choice to retire,” she said.
Sanford said he had disagreements with other leaders and wishes he could have spent more time focusing on the issues at hand.
“I’ve got an interim director that wouldn’t listen to me and a city council that was more interested in playing politics than they are at actually addressing the problem,” he said.
6 News reached out to the Interim Director of Economic Development and Planning for comment but did not hear back.