As criticism of the city’s inspectors and regulatory process mounts, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas has arranged a meeting with the city departments that issue permits and regulate businesses. City regulators and elected officials received severe criticism, notably from this radio show, after regulators ran amok, closing down the outdoor Tiki Bar at KC’s Rib Shack, a popular 14 year old eatery with few if any regulatory problems. Citing alleged violations of the city’s Life Safety Code, Code Enforcement Inspector James Tierney issued an immediate cease and desist order without prior notification to the business and with no opportunity for correction.
While the department has defended its actions by asserting that there’s little time to waste when “lives are at risk,” they have unable to answer why they couldn’t or shouldn’t have given the business time to correct the violations in light of the fact that eight days lapsed between the date of inspection and the date KC’s received the notice. When pressed on that question, Leon Lafreniere, Director of the Planning and Community Development Department, said he didn’t have an answer for that.
Girard at Large has aggressively investigated the circumstances leading to Tierney’s ‘s ham handed order. We have spoken at length with all the departments involved and will be releasing as complete a history of events as is possible at this time. Girard also conducted extensive and exclusive interviews with Alderman Phil Greazzo, whose efforts led to the Tiki Bar’s reopening. Rib Shack owner Kevin Cornish, who held no punches while sharing this horrific story of regulator overreach, and a very combative Mayor Gatsas.
Here is a link to all of our reporting on this issue to date. We have yet to write our chronology of events and release the data we’ve collected before the mayor meets with regulators on Monday. We are still awaiting information from the Manchester Fire Department and only received awaited information from the Planning and Community Development Department.
Gatsas said the purpose of the meeting was to find ways for the city’s regulatory agencies to better coordinate. He doesn’t expect that any of the changes will involve codes or policies, but rather administrative and management changes that will improve communications.