Wednesday, 20 June 2018 12:11

Council honors longtime employees

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Clements pins his son's badge on his uniform. Clements pins his son's badge on his uniform.

Roanoke Rapids City Council and department heads honored two retirees with more than 60 years between them Tuesday night.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Clements is retiring at the end of the month after 28 years of service, Chief Stacy Coggins told council. “He is greatly appreciated and will be remembered. He was my supervisor for many years. He’s been a great asset. He wanted to be deputy chief, he wanted to oversee training.”

Clements, Coggins said, “Became my right hand man for many years.”

Clements, who was presented his helmet and badge, said, “It’s been both my pleasure and privilege to serve the city of Roanoke Rapids.”

Clements served with two chiefs and five city managers over the course of his career.

Before the end of the retirement ceremony, Clements pinned a firefighter’s badge on his son Ben’s uniform. His son was recently hired by the fire department.

“It meant the world to me,” Clements said of the moment he pinned his son’s badge. “He’s been working hard toward that, waiting for his opportunity.”

During that period his son obtained a two-year degree in fire science.”He’s well on his way to being a certified firefighter. It’s really an honor for him to come on as a legacy firefighter and do what what his father did. It was the highlight of all the craziness there’s been recently, a daughter graduating and going to college, my retirement and Ben getting this opportunity.”

Clements will remain close to firefighters and other first responders as he became the director of fire and EMS training for Halifax Community College.

While his official start in that capacity will be July 9, he has been working part-time in the position since April 1.

“I’ll be trying to carry on the training and education,” Clements said this morning. “I’ll be staying involved with fire and EMS through those contacts.”

Meanwhile, Donald Tart was recognized for his years of service, a nearly 34-year career which started in the public works department and ends this month with him retiring from planning and development as a minimum housing code enforcement officer.

“It’s been a privilege to serve,” Tart said. “I thank all the departments. It’s been a great career.”

Planning and development Director Kelly Lasky said, “What he’s demonstrated there’s a real task in order in what he’s leaving behind in this position primarily because it requires both a proactive and reactive approach to minimum house codes.”

Tart is also responsible for enforcing junked and abandoned vehicles. “He has 15 years experience in this department alone as minimum code enforcement officer. His work is very thorough and detailed,” Lasky said. “He maintains a calendar of timeframes, deadlines for compliance, which also includes required 10-day notices. Oftentimes his work requires him going to the register of deeds office to research property deeds and parties of interest when code enforcement activities are under investigation prior to orders of enforcement.”

Lasky describes Tart as patient and a person who listens to complaints on a daily basis from tenants and landlords and tries to find “possible solutions through the city’s codes. He has gone above and beyond to help people find assistance to correct code violations.”

Tart will return in August on a part-time basis, Lasky said. “We hope to have him basically train and supervise a full-time position that we’re currently accepting applications for.”

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