Building Commissioner Jerry Foustnight will hang his hat following a second career in public service with the City of Marion.
Foustnight had first retired after serving with the Marion Fire Department from 1977 to 2007. He was brought back to a related field as Building Commissioner in 2016 by Mayor Jess Alumbaugh.
Mayor Alumbaugh expressed appreciation for Foustnight’s dedication and leadership. “Jerry has done a great job as the City of Marion’s Building Commissioner for the past eight years. He is fair and consistent when dealing with building and property issues in our community. And he demands the same from his staff.”
The leadership role additionally oversees Code Enforcement and Animal Care and Control.
Foustnight highly regards his team in all three areas. “I’m really proud of my staff. They go out of their way to eliminate blight, not only in buildings, but through eliminating weeds, trash, abandoned vehicles, and in handling animal issues. We all work together.” He added, “They seldom get credit for their efforts. You never know they exist until there is a problem.”
Foustnight said the most important work they have done is eliminating blight through demolishing unsafe structures beyond repair. In October of 2023, an online map was introduced showing the history of demolitions from 2016 to 2022. A link is found on the Building Department Page, cityofmarion.in.gov/building. A map from 2023 is in the works.
Foustnight commented, “That map just shows that we treat everybody fairly and it was not just one section of the city.” He said it has been a challenge helping citizens understand the process. “I wish they understood what we do on a daily basis. We do inspections every day. We make sure everyone is treated the same whether you have a dollar or a penny in your pocket, for the good of our citizens. We strive to better ourselves every day, and to try to make a difference.”
In his Spotlight interview before retiring on December 31st, 2023, he responded with humility. “I’m out here just like everyone else, just doing my job. I’ve worked all my life in public service. I’ve always strived to do things correctly and the best I could. That’s why I wanted to do this job. Now, I believe it’s time to retire and spend more time with my family.”