Citing his April heart surgery and approaching 61st birthday, Atherton Building Official Mike Wasmann has announced that he will retire on Sept. 18, exiting a department that has seen its share of turmoil and has been the target of fierce criticism since around 2005.
He made his announcement on Tuesday (Aug. 3).
Appointed to the position in February 2007, Mr. Wasmann replaced Mike Hood, who retired abruptly in June 2006, shortly after Atherton officials admitted to hiring an investigator to look into allegations of impropriety in the building department.
Mr. Wasmann has himself been the target of public criticism, particularly by former town finance director John Johns, who audited the building department in 2006, and, most recently, by resident Kimberly Sweidy, who in June called for his firing.
Mr. Wasmann could not be reached for comment before deadline.
Assistant City Manager Eileen Wilkerson said today (Aug. 4) that Mr. Wasmann's retirement was "for solely personal reasons." She said the decision was entirely his, and noted that "he's done so many good things here." The town, she added, will host a retirement party for him "to celebrate with him and see him into his future."
Ms. Sweidy called for Mr. Wasmann's firing in June in a written notice to City Council members and town officials about the multi-million-dollar retrofitting and repair projects she and her husband, Raymie Stata, are having to have done on their custom home.
Mr. Wasmann, she said, is "the town employee with the most culpability," conducting some of the house inspections himself, and overseeing a department that failed to properly detect the many problems the family has discovered since moving into the house on Broadacres Road, including serious structural deficiencies.
In an e-mail sent this morning, Ms. Sweidy wrote: "Mr. Wasmann's 'retirement' comes as a relief. However, we will not have a repeat of the Mr. Hood situation. Out of sight is not out of mind.
"'Retirement' does not obviate the need for accountability and remediation. This is just the first step."
Ms. Wilkerson said the town hasn't had a chance to discuss options for replacing Mr. Wasmann. Just as town managers review all positions when they become vacant, "We will be looking at all aspects of the building official position at this time, now that Mr. Wasmann has announced his retirement."