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Thursday

July 2014

31

Homeowners were safer because of service of building inspector Tom Maney

Veteran building inspector died Monday

There are a lot of homeowners in Lake Country who are living in safer houses because of the late Tom Maney, one of the founders of Wisconsin Building Inspections, who also served building inspector in the City of Delafield and the Village of Summit.

"That is absolutely true," said Summit Village Administrator Henry Elling, who said Maney devoted 20 years of his life to trying to make sure that homes and commercial structures in Summit were built in compliance with building and safety codes.

"Tom Maney was an iconic figure in Delafield City Hall for many years," added Delafield City Planner Roger Dupler of Yaggy Colby & Associates.

Maney served as city building inspector for a quarter century before his retirement in 2012.

The Delafield Common Council observed a moment of silence Monday night for Maney, 62, who died earlier that day at AngelsGrace Hospice in Oconomowoc after a long illness.

Elling and Dupler said Maney strived to be a problem-solver rather than being punitive when he discovered a homeowner, business person, or building contractor had failed to comply with electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning codes or other building codes.

"He tried to be a problem-solver who was always interested in trying to help people. He knew you could often accomplish more with honey than with a hammer. Not all building inspectors are like that," Elling noted.

"His pleasant demeanor, cooperative spirit and easygoing nature were hallmarks of his service to the Delafield community that went well beyond his position as building inspector," Dupler and City Engineer Mike Court, also of Yaggy Colby Associates, said in a jointly prepared statement.

Maney served on the city Plan Commission from 1979-89 and nearly always attended city plan staff meetings where his casual and friendly business style often helped identify and resolve issues before they reached the Plan Commission, according to Dupler.

"His historical knowledge of the city, grasp of zoning, engineering and architecture, as well as having his finger on the political pulse of the city, made him indispensable to the successful growth and development experienced in Delafield over the past two decades, added Dupler and Court.

Elling said, "We were blessed in Summit to have him as a building inspector who could help guide us through the building boom years that the community experienced. He was our main contact with Aurora Advanced Health Care during the construction of the hospital. He was over there almost every day and probably knew that building better than anyone else."

Elling and Maney shared an office in the Summit municipal building.

"The two hours of the day that he was in the office was the most enjoyable time of the day. He was a sounding board for many ideas, reference for many questions, and a very good friend," Elling added

Wisconsin Building Inspections, the company that Maney helped build, serves about two dozen municipalities in Southeastern Wisconsin, according to Scott Hussinger, Maney's business partner for about 13 years. The company provides building inspections for the towns of Mukwonago, Oconomowoc, Vernon and the villages of Dousman, Eagle, Hartland, Lac La Belle and Wales.

Many smaller municipalities in Southeastern Wisconsin rely on contractual, part-time building inspectors, engineers and planners. Hiring consultants is more economical for the communities because the consultants are not paid full-time salaries or receive health and retirement benefits.

Maney served as a municipal building inspector for 35 years in addition to being a licensed plumber and a building contractor.

He began his career working for his father, Floyd, in the family hardware store. Floyd Maney also served as city building inspector, and his son was plumbing inspector back in the days when it was not uncommon for municipality to have a plumbing and electrical inspector along with a building inspector.

In 1992, Maney and business partner, Mark Miller, created Maney- Miller Inspections. The company changed its name to Wisconsin Building Inspections when it expanded in business base, according to Hussinger.

A memorial service has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1600 N. Genesee St., Delafield. Visitation will be at the church beginning at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to AngelsGrace Hospice, W359 N7430 Brown St., Oconomowoc, or the charity of one's choice.

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