Schock retiring, building next phase
Jim Schock, Jacksonville's chief building official for more than a year and a division employee since 1996, is retiring today.
He's been arriving every day by 6 a.m. and leaving soon after the office closes at 4 p.m., although that might change today with the farewells.
He and his staff wore Hawaiian shirts to celebrate.
Schock turns 66 on Sunday and decided it was time to move into the next phase of his life.
"It's exciting and scary at the same time," he said from his offices on the second floor of the Ed Ball Building Downtown.
A professional engineer, he already had a career of experience before he joined the city 17 years ago. He rose in the ranks, becoming the building inspections manager in 1998 and then chief of building inspection.
Schock capped his tenure in August when his team at the Building Inspection Division achieved accreditation from the International Accreditation Service, an independent assessment and verification organization.
Teams visited to inspect and evaluate the division, and that included interviewing customers and staff, who spoke of Schock with high regard.
Schock said staff was proud of the accreditation.
"This is a way to make sure you are on top of your game and your citizens can be confident you are doing the job you should be doing," Schock said.
Schock leads a division that is funded by building permit fees, not the city general fund. When the economy tanked and construction followed, two reductions-in-force cut staff from a high of 134 to 74.
Staff is now at 77 and Schock wants to add seven more employees, comprising two transfers, two new plan reviewers and three trades inspectors.
To maintain customer service, he wants adequate staff.
The economy has been growing and so has the volume of work, he said.
"It's improving," he said. "Our loads are up across the board."
Monica Landeros, public communications officer for Mayor Alvin Brown, said Planning and Development Director Calvin Burney indicated Schock's successor might be announced by the close of business.
Schock will remain busy. He serves on the Florida Building Commission and is the structural specialist on Florida Task Force 5 Urban Search and Rescue, formed by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department in October 2001.
"I've got to do something," he said, quickly doing the math for how long he's been in the profession.
It's been 46 years.