“(The manufactured homes commission) rarely – if ever – bothers to use its full regulatory authority to enforce safe water rules,” the statement says.
The EPA’s criticism comes as Ohio Gov. John Kasich calls for the commission to be disbanded and its responsibilities relegated to the Ohio Department of Commerce. The measure is part of the governor’s budget proposal pending before the Ohio General Assembly.
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Frank Pojman, president of the Association of Manufactured Home Residents in Ohio, said he understands Kasich’s interest in efficiency. But he is concerned that folding the work into another agency will diminish the attention paid by an agency focused solely on manufactured homes.
“I don’t think he has a clue as to what this commission does for the residents that live in manufactured homes,” he said.
Last week the Ohio Fire Marshal and Ohio Fire Chief's Association accused the commission of doing too little to protect mobile home residents from deadly fires – saying Ohio mobile home residents are more than 4 times more likely to die in a fire than site-built homes.
But officials with the manufactured homes commission say the criticisms overstate the agency’s role.
Agency director Janet Williams said they have never had clear authority to take action against a mobile home park owner’s license for water quality issues since they began licensing mobile home parks in December 2012.
“We want to work with them in the process of whatever legal avenue we have to help them enforce the water rules they have in manufactured home parks,” she said.
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Jim Demitrus, who sat on the commission from 2006 through 2015, said pulling a mobile home park’s license over water issues has serious consequences for the people living there.
“If they pull the license, everybody in that community has to move out,” he said. “I would like to see somebody in state government do that. Pull the license, and you have to move 100 families.”
FROM THE I-TEAM