It appears that hundreds of homes in Honesdale may have been inspected illegally — and that comes from state of Pennsylvania officials.

It appears that hundreds of homes in Honesdale may have been inspected illegally — and that comes from state of Pennsylvania officials.

A story on today’s front page outlines information we have obtained from the state in which the official state spokesperson says Honesdale zoning officer Wayne Earley was not licensed to do residential home inspections for a three-year period before getting that certification in 2010.

Just a quick glance at the zoning book kept by Earley reveals a long list of inspections he performed on residential properties in the borough.

In his office, there are certificates hanging on the wall, but those are from the system which was in place prior to the Uniform Building Code requirements being implemented in Pennsylvania. There was a grandfather clause when those were implemented but for residential inspections, that ran out in 2007.

The ramifications of this are so many it would be impossible to outline in great detail. But just the fact homes were inspected by someone who wasn’t certified to do so could have major consequences for the borough.

Yet there is another issue which overrides even the obvious ones like electrical fires or bad pipes.
How could this happen? What was the culture in which those in charge allowed this to happen?
It should be made clear the onus falls on the members of the council who allowed someone to work for them without closely checking the required certifications.

When a hospital hires a doctor, the degree has to be shown and verified. Same is true for banking institutions, insurance companies, accounting firms and the list could go on forever. People have to prove they are licensed to do what the job requires.

Were members of the council unaware that his certification was part of a grandfather clause and expired? Is there not a file in place at borough hall which includes the proper certifications?

These are very serious questions and go straight to the health and safety of the residents of Honesdale. When someone rents a house, they assume it was properly inspected and certified which means it is a safe place to live. If the person doing the certification isn’t qualified — again according to state officials who are in charge of such matters — then there is a major problem.

All of this points to accountability and it appears those in charge didn’t bother to take that into consideration when making these decisions.

And then there’s the big question: Why?

Was it just bumbling and stumbling on the part of the officials in charge? Or were there more sinister reasons?

The answers to these questions are crucial and involve everyone who lives in Honesdale Borough. Everyone.

It also makes us wonder how other area government entities operate. Do they check credentials and then double check to make sure they are putting the safety of the residents first? Hopefully, that is happening.

It just seems astonishing that this could have gone on for so long and nobody even batted an eyelash. When it comes to safety, it seems everyone is concerned with fire and police departments and the condition of roads. Did nobody consider safety when it comes to the actual places people spend the majority of their lives?

These questions cannot go unanswered. There can be no more sweeping the information under the run.

The sun must shine on these matters — and they are so many more related to this issue — and it must shine right now. Nothing else will suffice and everyone who has been involved needs to start talking.

Public safety is at issue here and nobody is immune.