Shawn Noel, Code Enforcement/Animal Control manager, recently found a retirement home and another career in Stilwell.
The Wisconsin native is a retired police captain. He moved here for his wife, Dana, who was born and raised here for the first 10 years of her life. Her parents were born and raised here, and for a short time moved away for work, but came back. They have been homeowners since the early '70s and served the community for a period of time.
“We have been coming to the area for the past 33 years, at least annually. Our retirement dream was to move here, which we did,” Noel said.
When the couple first moved to the area six years ago, they were advised by people and real estate agents to not buy in Stilwell.
“I was told I would never be able to sell the house and that the area was not a good place to live,” he said.
Noel is working to help change that perception.
His responsibilities are code enforcement, which includes, building inspection, flood plain administrator, safety, maintenance for city buildings, and enforcing the ordinances.
“I also oversee Animal Control, which includes the supervision of the animal control officers and the animal shelter,” Noel said.
Priorities for the jobs are to set a standard of living for the people of Stilwell, as outlined in the ordinances passed by the elected officials, and overall, to make Stilwell a better place to live and help control the animal population within the city limits, said Noel.
He enjoys working with the citizens and businesses within the city.
“I explain the ordinances and seek compliance. I work with them to find a solution to the issue, or when I am working with them for construction, I like to see the different methods of achieving the same goal. I learn daily on this job. I like to see the project through to the end to see the final product,” he said.
There are people who do not want to follow city ordinances and are very vocal about it. And there are people who want the enforcement but cannot understand the time it takes to correct issues, he said.
“There are people who want no rules or codes and do not want to do anything. There are people who want everything to stay the same, and cannot understand that maintenance needs to happen on properties, and there are codes for the safety and welfare of all. The biggest challenge is trying to educate each of those personalities on what is required and why – many times doing so after they have obtained misinformation,” he said.
He's convinced Stilwell has a lot to offer.
"I believe all can share a similar belief and help clean up Stilwell. There have been a lot of time and money invested into the city over the past year, close to $70 million, so I know there are willing businesses and citizens wanting to step up, but it takes all of us to get the job done,” Noel said.
The joys of the job are the unsolicited compliments by the citizens and actually seeing the fruits of a cleaner and safer city.
“When it comes to enforcing our ordinances in the city, I like the end results. This means I like it when ordinances are complied with and the city looks better. The journey is not always pleasant or easy, but when the job is done and the city is safer and cleaner, I am happy,” Noel said.
People need to know that sometimes, things are done for the betterment of society and not for an individual.
“We are a city, and when things are corrected or asked to be corrected, it is not a personal affront against an individual or business. If we achieve the standards and maintain the standards outlined in the ordinances, we will have a cleaner and safer society to live in. In turn, property will be more valuable and desirable, which is better for all in whatever part of life they are in,” said Noel.