Inspection Department Superintendent
Meet Your Inspection Department Superintendent Sandra Hadley
Sandra Hadley is not a spoilsport. Despite racking up nicknames such as “The Enforcer” and “The Hammer” during her first year leading the city’s inspection department, Hadley’s goal is a positive one. She wants the city to be clean, safe, and enjoyable for everyone who lives and works in the City Beautiful.
Hadley, a Laurel native and graduate of R.H. Watkins High School and Jones College, earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from The University of Southern Mississippi. After graduating from Jones College, she worked as a substitute teacher and was encouraged by her supervisor to complete a 4-year degree so that she could become a teacher. It would not be the last time that a supervisor saw her untapped potential and encouraged her in a new direction.
After graduation, she worked as an administrative assistant in the Laurel City School District in their payroll department.
However, she was looking for a change of pace when she applied to work for the city in 2014. She was hired as a code enforcer in the inspection department where she spent three years putting her educational background to use by breaking down and explaining the city’s code of ordinances to property owners. “I guess I am still educating folks,” she said. By explaining the ordinances to property owners, she hoped to help them understand what was expected of them and how they could bring their properties up to the standards expected by the city.
In 2017, she became the city’s safety officer where she served until 2021 when she was promoted to Superintendent for the Inspection Department. At the time, she had established herself as someone who could oversee a department and help it reach its potential. So, once again, a supervisor, in this case, Mayor Johnny Magee, stepped in and offered to put her over the department that he felt needed a boost.
Since then, Hadley has earned a reputation for being a no-nonsense public servant. “It’s not anything personal,” Hadley explained. “It’s a job that I have to do. It’s a safety issue.”
Many of the ordinances that Hadley and her team of seven work to enforce involve issues that go beyond aesthetics and deal directly with safety. While junk cars and overgrown lots can look bad, they are also dangerous. Hadley points out that junk vehicles can provide homes for rodents, snakes, and other potentially dangerous creatures. Dilapidated structures can house squatters, and overgrown grass in neglected lots can provide cover to both.
That’s why Hadley and her team of field inspectors scan the city for overgrown lots, junk vehicles, and other city ordinance violations. A cleaner city is not just a more beautiful city, it’s also a safer city for everybody.
Hadley and her team will work with property owners to ensure that they understand what is expected of them and that they can make a plan to bring their properties up to the standard. “Every situation is different,” she explained, “We believe in working with everybody.” She pointed out that many property owners need more time to gather the money and resources required to address their issues. Many times, the department can grant them some leeway. Ultimately, the work just needs to be completed so that the property is safe.
“I love seeing progress,” Hadley said. She explained that she is most excited to see the overall state of the city improved, not just one area or ward, but all of them. “Consistency is key. We want to see consistent improvement across all the wards. We don’t need to see people moving junk cars from one neighborhood to the other,” she said. Her department’s primary goal is to enhance the livability and quality of life in each of the city’s many neighborhoods.
Reinspection Fee: $25.00
Gas Pressure Test: $25.00
Electrical Inspection (Vacant): $25.00
Certificate of Appropriateness: $15.00
Demolition Permit: $101.00
Land Clearing Permit: $100.00
House Moving Permit: $100.00
Site Plan Review (General): $100.00
Site Plan Review (Telecom): $500.00
Special Exception Petition: $100.00
Zoning Change Petition: $200.00
Variance Petition: $150.00
Conditional Use Petition: $100.00
Short-Term Rental Permit: $350.00
Please make checks payable to The City of Laurel.
Please note that a 3% processing fee applies to credit and debit card payments.
The Inspection Department serves the city by offering several services including: