Help! Board of Health Issues

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Logee. Show Logee's posts

    Help! Board of Health Issues

    Hi CC'ers,

    Longtime lurker, first time poster. I go back to just before the paper pulled Chat from its print edition. What was that, the late 1990's?

    I don't know where else to anonymously turn. I read on Chat that some of you have experience with contractors. Maybe that can lead to talking about a Board of Health? I also read in the March 2011 thread that someone posted that "even the tighest houses can have vermin" (I'm paraphrasing).

    We had them. Cockroaches. Ick. Had no idea where the main nest was. Oh, for background, I live in an attached house. We got rid of them as soon was we saw them. That was two years ago.

    About two months ago, our neighbors (in the other part of the house) started getting roaches. Since we had them first, naturally they thought they were coming from our home. But we footed the bill for good will, and had the exterminator in multiple times. No other bugs. No rodents. Just roaches. This was "our" exterminator. We (DH and I) paid for him.

    "Our" exterminator turned out to be a gossip. One day he apparently told our neighbor that although he didn't see any roaches in any place but the kitchen, he still applied the pesticide throughout our side of the house (one floor and a finished basement), and throughout their place (stairwells, one (top) floor, attic). He said we had too many things, though, for him to do a thorough application.

    The next thing you know, we have an unannounced visit from the local Board of Health. She tells us all the things wrong with our place. She gives us two days to clean up this, a week to clean up that. In the meantime, we learn where the main nest was in the kitchen, remove walls, replace the appliance most of them were living in. It cost us a fortune, money we don't have right now,but worth it. For the past month, not a roach in sight. Exterminator doesn't want to sign off on the job, because of course he wants more work and more moneu.

    But we can't get this health inspector out of our lives. Every week she comes to make spot checks, and nothing is good enough for her. We moved my husband's office to the cellar, because she said he had too much stuff. She didn't seem to understand what a home office is. She told me I didn't need so many books. She told me out son's bed should be rearranged, because that will give him good habits growing up (it's not in a fire hazard position; she just doesn't like it that way). She says our son should do this and our son should do that.

    The first day she came was a bad day. I was in the shower, ran to the door, leaving footprints on the floor. She said our pets made that mess (no, it was me).

    To get her out of our lives, some friends are holding a lot of our stuff temporarily. I went through EVERYTHING. No roaches, no dead roaches, no egg sacs. DH travels a lot for work, so much of this is up to me. I'm not Rachael Ray, but DH and I feel we keep a clean home. So what if the sheets don't match? On every bed there are top and bottom sheets, a blanket and a comforter, and two pillows in pillow cases.

    Now she is threatening us with a court order to have all our things removed (EVERYTHING), sterilized, then returned, at our expense if we don't do her tasks on her timetable. She also threatens to go to children's services if we don't do things her way.

    Worse yet, she wants to go through our closets! Chatters, we have intimate things in there, and as young as our son is (pre-teen), he has a right to his privacy.

    This is taking a toll on me. I've had GERD for a month. She is more upsetting to me than the cockroaches. I get heart palpitations when she's on her way. I worry that I'll miss her deadline for tasks. I'm constantly in the restroom with stomach trouble.

    Worse, hubby and I feel like she's trying to teach us to be adults (I'm in my early 40's, he's in his early 50's).

    With the economy tanked, we don't think we can afford an attorney. I feel like I'm in prison, and she's the jailer.

    How can we get out of this mess, short of selling the place? Can anyone help? I cry every day about this. I never had a government agency investigating me. I never had someone in my life with so much power.

    Thank you,

    "Logee"
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

            Roaches are extremely difficult to get rid of,  after all,  they survived the ice age.     The problem with attached dwellings  is the roaches just move around and keep coming back. Do you have a plan with a pest control company to do routine checks and treatment?        Keep all your receipts.     BTW: Get rid of all clutter,  and tell Board of Health people that you and your family would appreciate 24 hour notice for any inspections or visits.   Check with a lawyer,  often the initial consultation is free,  ask around,  check your yellow pages,  good luck.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from icer. Show icer's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    I am not sure but don't Health agents usually work with a Board of Health? These would be elected citizens in your city or town. I would address my issues with them. Good Luck
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Logee. Show Logee's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Thank you robingirl.

    It's an attached two family. We got here before our neighbors did, though. Our home inspector didn't find any evidence of pests. When we discarded that appliance (stove) we found a ton of grease behind it. Just as well we got rid of it, as I feel it was a fire hazard like that. The home inspector didn't see that, either, as the stove didn't come away from the wall, and I could never see behind it. Did the roaches come before or after our move-in? We ask ourselves that. We don't know. The place was spotless when we looked at it. Never had any smoke problems from the grease we discovered. I never had a pest problem in my life until 2009.

    I was shocked she (the health inspector) just showed up and rang our doorbell. No notice. Now she comes every Monday. We don't want her going our personal things. We can remove clutter as you suggested (hence, moving DH's office downstairs, for now), but what about her going through the chests of drawers? Can she really do that? I don't have anything strange to hide. I just don't like the idea of it.

    I don't want her telling us how to re-arrange our son's room. I feel violated. I feel like she's telling me how to parent.  We already raised a child (grown). That child has a temper, so fortunately he's not living at home - he'd really give her his mouth!

    She also tells me to get rid of all my mother's heirlooms. "You'll have memories," she says. She is trying to tell me not only how to live, but how to think.

    What gives her so much power? Why does she think bullying ("I'll get a court order") will find us amenable to her? She reminds me of bullies from elementary school, only she's in her 60s, or looks it. Maybe she'll retire before this is done, I hope, I hope!

    OK, we'll consult a lawyer , since the consults are usually free. Thank you.

    Logee
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Logee. Show Logee's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Yes, Icer, she's employed by them. We're in a very corrupt city.

    I have to find a way to keep this from affecting my health. DH and I have a wonderful relationship, but this thing with the health inspector is something I've never experienced before. She has me in her sights.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    The initial consultation is usually free [check first],  but they will give you an estimate,  what it will cost to look into it and what they recommend.     Ask the lawyer if the Board of Health people can go through your stuff,  that doesn't sound right to me.      Take care of yourself.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Logee, so sorry you are dealing with this nightmare.

    I see no other way for you to proceed aside from getting a lawyer.  Call around and be forthright about what you can afford.  There are lawyers that do work pro bono (or charge less than full price) at their discretion.  
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    DH added that if it were him he'd get a mini tape recorder (or video camera, even better) and tape every visit.  You're not under any legal obligation to disclose it, either; she's on govn't business which is public.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    I'd check with a lawyer before attempting any sort of audiotaping. I know that it's illegal to audiotape police officers. There's a reason most surveillance is video only, no sound.


    It also may be in your best interests to call her bluff. If she says she'll get a court order, tell her to go right ahead and you'll have your attorney review it (even if you don't have one).

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from mothermitzi. Show mothermitzi's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    I agree with redfishbluefish. Use of a video camera is tricky.  In certain situations, people need to be informed they are being audio recorded, too.  Even on private property. Consult a lawyer or you may find yourself in more trouble than you deserve.

    mothermitzi
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Logee,
    What a nightmare you are in. I am with the other posters, that suggest a lawyer. This lady is over using her power and abusing you. She found out, she can intimidate you, and make herself feel good in the process.
    Even though it is a great idea, I would not video or audio tape  her visits. That could get you in big trouble later. Can your husband be at home or do you have a friend or a neighbor, that can be with you during her visits, so you will have a witness to her abusiveness?
    A lawyer may be expensive, but your health is at stake here. If you cannot afford one, there are "Lawyers for Poor People" that will help you in civil cases. Something worth for you to look into. A lawyer will take away a lot of your burden, and put this witch in her right place.
    Best to you dear and good luck. Let us know, how it all goes - Pingo
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    How can taping a visit by a gov't employee working for the "good of the city" get anyone in trouble.  And, if you don't want to conceal it, have her say on tape that she's OK with it being taped.  
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Here is the law, if you're interested:

    http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Section99

    So you are very much under a legal obligation to disclose that you are taping and obtain consent. Otherwise, it's illegal. I highly doubt the OP wants to risk further legal trouble, since this woman seems hell-bent on making her life miserable.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Shortylicious. Show Shortylicious's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Each state has their own laws about recording and taping people. But, I would tell her that I'm taping her the next time she comes. It's your home and she's 'on the job' so unless she asks to use your bathroom, she shouldn't have any reasonable expectation of privacy.
    Additionally, I'd video tape and take pictures of the condition of your home for documentation purposes.
    And I would absolutely consult an attorney. You need to learn your rights in this situation as it sounds like you currently don't have any.
    Good luck!

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    Thanks - it just seems ridiculous, though, that we can't tape the people who are paid by our tax dollars doing their jobs...or messing up their jobs, whatever the case might be, to protect ourselves.  They work for us.

    Either way, if she has it on tape that she's OK with being taped she's covered.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from plasko. Show plasko's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    I very much agree with the taping her, otherwise its her word against yours, and she is the one in the position of power. In fact you should be videoing everything that has happened up until now to prove exactly what lengths you have gone to to rectify this situation. Any reasonable jury (should it ever get that far) will back you up if you have evidence of everything you did (throwing out stove, paying for exterminator, moving clutter etc). Either that or always have an independent secondary witness with you at all times when she comes over. Not just your best friend who would be biased your way, but someone else who has standing in the community (a doctor, teacher, priest, lawyer etc). Never ever be alone with this lady no matter what. 
    And please do ask her in a kind way next time she suggests something crazy:
    1- "I don't mean to be rude but is this actually your job? How can XYZ make for a cleaner home"
    2- "Can we get back to the job you are being paid for, please"

    While you do legally need to tell her when audio-recording her (and so videoing her is pointless) even if you do secretly do it you can always "leak" it to the media or YouTube (or at least threaten to). 

    Actually do you need permission or just need to disclose you are recording? If its just disclosure then go for it. Be in the position of power for once. 

    Oh and get one-up on her by renting a steam-cleaner to "sterlize" your clothes and curtains, carpets etc, making sure you video yourself doing it. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from LouieDaLipp. Show LouieDaLipp's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    I wouldn't let her in my house,.....PERIOD!!!! Let her call the cops, see what they have to say. The cops can't even come in to your home without a warrant I don't see how she could possibly have the authority. If it were me there is no possible way this lady enters my home unless she has THE LAW standing behind her with a warrant agreeing with her demands. Bottom line is that unless the cops are at the door with a warrant do not open it!!!! Simple!!!!!

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from LouieDaLipp. Show LouieDaLipp's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    oh and sue the crap out of the exterminator for slander.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: Help! Board of Health Issues

    --- and if you should decide to record her visit, make sure you record your own voice telling her you are doing it.
    How are things going? More visits, more harassment? Hope you have found a lawyer for yourself - Pingo
     

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