Update: Veteran Building Inspector Ousted In Derby, Replacement Appointed

City officials confirmed Tuesday that David Kopjanski is no longer the Derby building inspector.

Kopjanski wasn’t re-appointed Monday, according to an e-mail Tuesday afternoon from Sheila O’Malley.

O’Malley is Mayor Anthony Staffieri’s chief administrative officer and the city’s economic development director.

Mayor Staffieri appointed Carlo Sarmiento to replace Kopjanski Tuesday.

“He is a certified building inspector with over 20 years in the building industry,” O’Malley’s e-mail said.

Sarmiento is a Derby resident who studied construction management at Central Connecticut State University.

Staffieri sent a letter to members of the Board of Aldermen Tuesday afternoon informing them he appointed Sarmiento and that he will serve a four-year term, as outlined in state regulations.

“I hope that you welcome him to our administration,” Staffieri’s letter said.

An e-mail seeking comment was sent to Staffieri Tuesday.

The original story from Monday afternoon follows:

David Kopjanski is no longer Derby’s building inspector, four sources told the Valley Indy.

Kopjanski, a building official for 18 years and a city employee for almost 30 years, was relieved of his duties Monday morning.

Kopjanski declined to comment on what transpired Monday or whether he was still employed by the city.

“Respectfully, I have no comment,” Kopjanski said.

He could be seen outside Derby City Hall at 1 p.m. Monday putting items into his pick-up truck while chatting with local contractor Frank Pepe.

Messages seeking comment were left Monday afternoon with Mayor Anthony Staffieri, Corporation Counsel Joseph Coppola and Sheila O’Malley, the mayor’s chief administrative officer and director of economic development.

An e-mail seeking comment was sent to Derby Board of Aldermen President Barbara DeGennaro Monday evening.


posted by: Frank Sutton on July 2, 2013  10:05am

Keep a close eye on Kopjanski’s replacement. If the new guy just recently passed the test for his inspector’s license, then the machinations of the mayor’s office regarding this case will be obvious for all to see.

posted by: Linda Fusco on July 2, 2013  10:24am

It’s a sad day for Derby. Dave was a consummate, by-the-book professional and all of us were better for it. He cared about his work, took pride in it and held contractors to the highest standard. I urge the Mayor to choose his replacement with care and a lot of thought….Dave’s are big shoes to fill!

posted by: Mark Guliano on July 2, 2013  11:34am

Yes Mr Sutton do keep an eye on him and you will see a marked improvement in the building inspectors office Just talk to anyone who has had to do work with Daves office and you will find that he did nothing but change his mind about how things are to be done. Ask any builder about it and you will see they are glad for this change. He has cost the people of Derby a of hardships when he decided to change his mind and made the contractors change something that they had already done to code.
  As far as the “New Guy” getting his license just recently ththat’srue but the lilicenses a job requirement.  He’s by the book. Do what the book says and you wont have any troubles as in the past. Just remember the
“New Guy” did not cause any of this. He is a solousolution long problem. 
Derby is and will remain better off with him.  I wish Dave luck and happiness with what ever he chooses to do in the future.  Change for the better is a good thing and once again the Staffieri Admin is moving forward in making Derby a better place.

posted by: Ray Fleischer on July 2, 2013  1:56pm

About time!!

posted by: Tom Lionetti on July 2, 2013  3:32pm

Well MARK….It seems like you know who the NEW guy is….Why not tell us his name????We are going to find out soon anyway….

posted by: Michele Corey on July 2, 2013  4:33pm

@Tom, did you read the article.  It clearly states who the “new guy” is. 
“Mayor Staffieri appointed Carlo Sarmiento to replace Kopjanski Tuesday”

posted by: Eugene Driscoll on July 2, 2013  4:35pm

FYI, that info wasn’t in the article until after Tom’s post.

posted by: Robin Falcioni Smith on July 2, 2013  4:52pm

Well said Mark. It is about time. If you were not a ” good ole boy” you got a hard time.

posted by: Thomas Harbinson on July 2, 2013  6:39pm

As a Derby property owner, and having a business that is in the construction field - I have a unique perspective.  I dealt with the City of Derby Building Dept a few times for our property (my company has never had a construction project within Derby, we are mostly working on NYC skyscrapers).  DaveK was firm, and didn’t cut corners.  If I were to point a flaw, it was being hesitant to look at an issue from a different point of view.  I remember a discussion as to what was the difference between a 2-floor building and a 2-story building (they are different).  When I partially dismantled a structure that had sat vacant for 26yrs of ownership, I was told that environmental studies would need to be done because it was a “demolition” (which it technically was not).  Fortunately, I pointed out another alternative in the building code (if an environmental study had previously been filed with the State Dept of Public Health - which in this case had been done by the City of Derby when they owned it just previous to my ownership).  I still had copies of the paperwork from the mid 1980’s that Derby filed with the State of CT, and when Dave was shown the alternative method to allow permitting - I was on my way, but I had to do a fare bit of legwork to get there.

In one way I’m sad to see DaveK go, as he was always thorough and not every town has that service.  On the other hand, the building inspector is also there to help along projects so they can contribute to the grand list sooner rather than later, and creativity to accomplish that wasn’t in Dave’s methodology.

As an aside - does this mean that zoning regulations and/or maps will finally be on an official City of Derby website? Shelton does that. Derby on the other hand asks you to come in and pay for a printed copy.  Isn’t it 2013 on the east side of the Housatonic?  Can’t you see the contrast with Shelton’s economic development on the other side of the river? It isn’t ALL about a lower mill-rate.  Out of town developers can evaluate where/what they might invest in if Derby provided that data online.

Every focus of every dept in Derby should be on growing the Grand List, promptly, or Derby will be absorbed into an adjacent municipality rather than stand on it’s own.

posted by: Jack Walsh on July 3, 2013  12:04am

Just to put the zoning regulations in perspective, they were on-line, but the city asked to have them removed about three years ago. They were at http://www.electronicvalley.org/derby/zoning/index.html, but only a map is still there, and that has not been touched on the website since 2010.

posted by: Tom Lionetti on July 3, 2013  7:34am

Thank You Gene….YES MICHELE, I can read, but I can’t read something that was NOT there…Thanks for your
remarks…I built my home, addition,and swimming pool under the careful watch of DAVID….He made sure that the home owner was getting the job done RIGHT…He made sure that NO corners were cut..He was GREAT for the city of DERBY and will be MISSED..Good Luck Dave and if there is anything that I can do to help you in this difficult time PLEASE let me know…THANKS for being there for all of us..

posted by: Stan Muzyk on July 4, 2013  5:13pm

Dave Kopjanski remains as a proven, highly respected and well liked Derby official for his many years of dedicated and competent service—and will be missed bys by the many Derby residents that he served. Dave leaves “big shoes to fill.” Good luck to Carlo Sarmiento.