Sheriffs, Code Enforcement Tasked With COVID-19 Complaints

Sheriffs, Code Enforcement

Investigate COVID-19 Complaints

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.

COOPERSTOWN – If you see something, Governor Cuomo suggests, say something.

“We’ve been contacted about businesses having too many people in the store, people not wearing masks, that sort of thing,” said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.

As part of Cuomo’s executive order, complaints can be lodged by citizens if they see non-essential businesses open, non-emergency private construction work, or gatherings where more than 10 people are present. The complaints are anonymous, and local law enforcement is sent out to investigate.

In addition to the deputies, the county’s Code Enforcement Office is responding from complaints against contractors.

Devlin said that the complaints have come in by email from the state. “By the time we get them, they’re a few days old,” he said. “We usually call the business and remind them of the regulations.”

The sheriff said he has not had multiple reports of one business failing to abide by the guidelines. “We contact them and they said they were doing everything correctly,” he said. “We have no reason to believe they aren’t.”

Workers can also file complaints if their employer is not following mandates or if an employer refuses to pay for qualifying COVID-19 sick leave.

Non-emergency contracting work is also banned. “We are going out and looking at the site when we get a complaint,” said Anthony Gentile, County Code Enforcement officer. “We’ve had to tell a couple contractors to close up and go home.”

State contracting projects – such as the downtown work at 22 Main St. in Cooperstown – may continue, as can emergency work. “If a contractor gets a call about a hole in the side of someone’s house, they can call us and let us know so we can monitor while they make it safe.”

Currently, Gentile says, code enforcement is monitoring a few projects in the county as the contractors get the work to a spot where it is safe to close the site.

But Devlin warns against neighbors making frivolous complaints. “I don’t need to be running around chasing after things,” he said. “Especially if it’s a day or two later.”

“If everyone just does what they’re supposed to do,” he continued. “We’ll all get through this a lot quicker.”

3 thoughts on “Sheriffs, Code Enforcement Tasked With COVID-19 Complaints

  1. Mandy Collins

    If people would follow the safety guidlines there would be no need to report someone. Its really not that hard.

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