A former planning board member has been named the head of the county's code enforcement division, an agency he once worked for as an inspector.
Lionel van Dommelen, a Dundalk resident, took over as the head of code enforcement early last month, according to Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman.
Van Dommelen previously worked for code enforcement as an inspector for about a year beginning in 2006. He said he took the position after business at a the Seahorse Inn, a bar he and Ed Crizer formerly owned, fell off after the Wise Avenue drawbridge was closed.
"County Executive [Jim] Smith was good enough to offer me a job," van Dommelen said. "I really enjoyed it. I've always had an interest in planning and code enforcement issues."
But van Dommelen resigned from the code enforcement inspection job after a year and returned to work at the bar when the drawbridge re-opened and business picked up.
The bureau that van Dommelen worked for as an inspector was known more for being complaint driven. As head of the agency, van Dommelen said he plans to make it much more proactive and has ordered inspectors to cite violations when they see them.
"If they see it on the way to a complaint they're going to be writing it up," said van Dommelen.
Crizer and van Dommelen recently sold their interests in the bar to Crizer's brother Kenny and van Dommelen's daughter Alexandra, according to county records and interviews with both Crizer and van Dommelen.
Crizer was appointed by Councilman John A. Olszewski Sr. to the county Board of Appeals as well as chairman of the County Council's Redistricting Commission.
Both Crizer and van Dommelen are still partners in Oakleigh Beach Management, a coporation that owns the Wise Avenue building where the Seahorse Inn is located, according to van Dommelen.
Last year, Olszewski named van Dommelen to the county Planning Board—a position he held until he resigned in February to become head of code enforcement.
Van Dommelen said he didn't apply to be head of code enforcement.
"I'm sure Johnny put my name in," said van Dommelen, adding that he met County Executive Kevin Kamenetz while volunteering on his campaign.
Olszewski was also an early supporter of Kamenetz's county executive bid.
Kobler said Kamenetz personally selected van Dommelen, who will be paid about $85,000 annually.
He replaces Mike Mohler, the brother of Don Mohler, Kamenetz's chief of staff and director of communications.
Mike Mohler was hired in August 2007 by then-County Executive Jim Smith as the county's second deputy director of permits and development management, a position that hadn't existed prior to his hiring. At the time, the county did not conduct a candidate search for what was then a $96,000 per year job overseeing the county's code enforcement inspectors.
for the Board of Liquor License Commissioners soon after Kamenetz was sworn in as county executive. Mohler will make $98,500—the same as his salary in code enforcement.
Prior to working for the county, van Dommelen spent 20 years working for the Operating Engineers Union Local 37, including eight years as vice president.
Van Dommelen is a lifelong Dundalk resident where he lives with his wife of 25 years. The couple has four children.