WESTBROOK – The city didn’t have to look too far to find a replacement for Code Enforcement Officer Rick Gouzie, who recently retired from the post. David Finocchietti, who has worked as Westbrook’s code compliance officer for the last three years, was hired last month to lead the city’s code enforcement efforts.
City Administrator Jerre Bryant said Finocchietti brings an interesting background of code enforcement and law enforcement to the job.
Finocchietti first came to work in the city in 2008 when he was hired as Westbrook Police Department’s evidence technician and crime scene specialist after a long career in the Biddeford Police Department. Finocchietti transitioned into the code enforcement office in 2015 when he was hired as code compliance officer, a new position that was created after two apartment buildings on Main Street and Brackett Street were condemned due to code violations.
“From a safety standpoint, you need to be on top of residential inspections, especially if you are in a community that has a lot of multifamily buildings, which Westbrook does,” Bryant said of the reason for starting the code compliance position.
Finocchietti said the position gave the city an opportunity “to work more closely with multifamily housing residents and get a handle on how to upgrade safety. A lot of our homes, like in New England, are pretty old and are in need of updating.”
With Gouzie hinting at retirement the last few years, Bryant said once Finochietti joined the code enforcement department in 2015, it quickly became apparent “David would be the best to step into” the role of code enforcement officer one day.
As the code enforcement officer, Finocchietti is in charge of making sure ordinances in Westbrook are adhered to, and development projects are meeting their required land use and zoning requirements. He’ll also oversee land use, building, plumbing and residential electrical inspections.
In many ways, code enforcement is the combination of Finocchietti’s two previous careers. He started in the building trades industry prior to joining the Biddeford Police Department for 14 years, then joined the Westbrook police force. Finocchietti also worked briefly in code compliance in Biddeford.
“I have a background in the building trades, so the code enforcement part of that is something I was very familiar with. In the police role, I dealt with all sort of people, sometimes in situations that were stressful or not pleasant. That worked well for the compliance component,” he said.
Bryant said replacing Gouzie with Finocchietti helps to retain some of the institutional knowledge lost with Gouzie.
“Rick is a tough act to follow, but I think David is going to be excellent in this position,” Bryant said.
Gouzie joined the Westbrook code enforcement department first as a part-time plumbing inspector, before ascending to the department’s top post in 2000 after former code enforcement officer Harry Leclair retired.
After his high school graduation in 1971, Gouzie joined the United States Air Force and worked as a plumber. After four years of service, Gouzie went on to work as a plumber in Old Orchard Beach before becoming a pipe fitter for Bath Iron Works. He then returned to his hometown to work as a pipe fitter for Sappi.
Mayor Mike Sanphy called Gouzie “fantastic guy.”
“I want to wish him well in his retirement,” said Sanphy who worked with Gouzie first as a member of the police department, then as a city councilor and most recently, as mayor.
Bryant said Finocchietti’s old position, which is the principal investigator of code compliance complaints, is close to being filled.
Michael Kelley can be reached at 781-3661 x 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
David Finocchietti has been chosen as the new code enforcement officer following the retirement of Rick Gouzie. Finocchietti has worked in the city as a police officer and code compliance officer. (Courtesy photo)