Gigrich starts as city housing inspector
WORTHINGTON — Born and raised in Minnesota, Scott Gigrich’s move to Worthington is a homecoming of sorts.
“Just being raised and born here in Minnesota, I’ve been gone for about 10 years and wanted to get back close to the family,” Gigrich said. “The parents are getting a little older, and my brothers and sisters are up in the Cities area in the suburbs.”
Gigrich was hired in mid-August as the code enforcement officer/housing inspector for the city of Worthington. His first day on the job was Sept. 5.
“The city was contracting out for inspections for rental housing ordinance to assure compliance,” said Brad Chapulis, director of community and economic development. “Since its adoption in ‘08, we had a level of expectations that were placed on us by the elected body as well as the community as a whole. While we initially were meeting those expectations, we were falling behind, and I realized as a department head that those inspection services needed to be internal.”
Gigrich will have many different responsibilities within the city, including inspecting rental units.
“While the position has an all-encompassing title, the primary role for this position at this point in time is to bring the rental housing program to the level of expectation when it was adopted in ‘08,” Chapulis said. “Once we have that handled or under control to the satisfaction of our leaders, this position will help in other aspects of code enforcement within the department — whether that be building code or zoning and planning, things of that nature.”
Armand Eshleman, Worthington’s building official, is already overloaded. Chapulis said having Gigrich trained in multiple areas will be beneficial to take away some of that burden.
“Armand conducts over 2,0000 inspections a year,” Chapulis said. “Through an audit of the Department of Labor and Industry, which is the governing body in which building officials respond to, they like to see that to be in the ballpark of about 1,200 per inspector as a healthy load. You can see we’re pushing Armand in inspections.
“Our intention is we are going to cross-train the person in this position to obtain their limited certifications, which allows them to do residential inspections and to reduce the amount Armand is doing,” he continued. “That would allow us to bring a majority of the planning review on commercial and industrial properties in-house. We currently contract to a third party for plan review.”
Gigrich has already started inspecting some rental properties.
“Brad has shown me around a little bit and I’ve done some inspections so far,” Gigrich said. “The couple that I’ve done were fine. But I know there’s more out there that will have more surprises. They will be a little tougher.”
But it’s nothing he can’t handle, since Gigrich brings a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Born and raised in New Brighton, a suburb of the Twin Cities, Gigrich first worked for the Department of Corrections.
“I had been working for the Department of Corrections in Minnesota for about 10 years,” he said.
“Just raising a family, the duties of the job, the stress, I had always been in some form of construction, remodeling or rehab, that type of thing,” Gigrich added. “I can’t say where the lightbulb went on, but I started an entrepreneur thing and I wanted to start up a business, and that fit, being a home inspector.”
He found his way into Missouri, where he had worked for the past few years.
“I was doing a couple things — I had been doing my own home inspection business for several years,” he said. “I started with the city of Lake Ozark. I had different titles. ... building inspector, city inspector and code enforcement. I did that for two and a half years with them.”
He knows that background will be of good use for the city.
“I worked with the city of Lake Ozark for two and a half years, and I also worked with the city of Eldon for just about five years,” Gigrich said. “With that experience with code enforcement, building, some planning and zoning, and with my home experience, I’m hoping to help get us back on track, so to speak.”
That experience, and the way he handles code enforcement, set Gigrich apart for Chapulis.
“What stood out with Scott was the method in which he moves forward to make sure the compliance is done,” Chapulis said. “You can take a strong-arm approach or you can take a civil approach. We want to kind of balance the two.
“Through the interview process and through the reference checks, we kept on having it repeated that Scott is a dedicated person who won’t stop until the problem is solved,” Chapulis explained. “He will do it in a humane manner. That’s something that really stood out.”
Gigrich is married with two children and two stepchildren. In his spare time, he hopes to enjoy the area of southwest Minnesota.
“Obviously with the lake being here, I love the water,” he said. “I do kayaking and fishing. I do like to take day trips to see the area and tour around. I do a little hunting and trap shooting.”