Like most communities, Gothenburg has had policies and ordinances relating to the maintenance of properties within the city limits for many, many years. In the past, local police were responsible for enforcing these orders. However, with all that a sometimes stripped down police personnel has to do, the application of these codes has not been done consistently. Now the city has taken steps to change that.
At the March 15 meeting of Gothenburg City Council, unanimous approval was given for the hiring of Amanda Kordonowy as Community Services Officer (CSO). As an employee of the Gothenburg Police Department, she will operate under the direct supervision of City Police Chief Randy Olson. His duties will include inspecting properties within the city’s zoning jurisdiction and determining if a code violation exists. Once a decision is made, it will provide notice of violation and the right to appeal the decision; and report any violations to Olson and the City Council.
Kordonowy moved to Gothenburg from Kansas last fall and said she immediately fell in love with the community. “I really like this area. We’re big enough to be inclusive, but small enough to have a rural feel. A lot of families have been here so long and are very helpful,” Kordonowy said. “Everyone has just been very welcoming. And as someone who’s lived in many places, I felt very left out, but you don’t get that here.
She wants the public to understand that although her position is new, the orders she has been tasked with enforcing are not. “It’s still the same rules and the same day-to-day quality of life elements that we look at,” she explained. “Just because it’s not an officer on their doorstep doesn’t mean it’s anything new or scary.”
Kordonowy said that upon seeing the job posting, she decided to take a chance and apply, even though it was not something she had done before. “It gives me the opportunity to play a bigger role and do more in the community. I think because I’m new to the community, I have less bias. Everyone gets the same rules and is treated fairly,” she explained. “We’re saving officers so much time to focus on more important things around public safety issues, while I’m dealing with quality of life.”
She said the police department’s leadership has been extremely supportive and encouraging as she begins this new role. There will be specialized training involved, such as de-escalation in the case of angry people, and training with dispatch to learn how to properly communicate over the radio with this agency and others.
“I understand that just because I knock on the door randomly doesn’t necessarily make some people happy. But I just let people know why I’m here and try to fix whatever the problem is,” Kordonowy explained. “I’m not going to walk around your property, climb fences or break in. I’ll just watch from the road and if I see anything, we’ll talk about it. I’m not trying to cause anyone stress or look for trouble – just a nice, safe community.
When Kordonowy visits a landlord, she provides him with a copy of the city ordinance, and she and the resident sign a document stating that the issue has been discussed and a deadline for resolution has been set. She emphasized the fact that enforcing these ordinances isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s about community safety.
To give city residents the opportunity to complete their spring yard cleaning, FREE dumpsters will be located at the City Maintenance Facility, 1112 Avenue L, between April 29 and May 8. . Additionally, the City’s Shrub and Tree Dump on 4th Street is open daily Monday through Friday and there is no charge to dispose of your branches, limbs and leaves at the facility.