No One Wants to Be a Food Inspector, So No One's Inspecting Dallas Restaurants
On Monday, Jimmy Martin, the Director for Code Compliance responsible for inspecting Dallas County bars and restaurants, gave a presentation to Dallas City Council about the program. The meeting was called in response to the failure of the Compliance Department to inspect restaurants according to city regulations.
Martin's presentation gave the first quantitative view from his department's perspective into the inspections program meltdown, reporting that only 20 percent of food establishments received two inspections in the last fiscal year, and 241 locations had not been inspected for more than two years.
Martin pointed to an increase in restaurants and food trucks, as well a shrinking budget, as causes for the inspection woes, but inadequate staffing appears to be the biggest problem. Nine employees have quit in recent months, and most of those positions remain open.
James Childers, the Assistant Director, told CoA three weeks ago that six offers had been extended to new inspectors, but low salaries have drawn an under-qualified applicant pool. It turns out that the $17 to $25 an hour Dallas County is offering prospective candidates to deal with the area's largest and most understaffed restaurant inspection program is a less than attractive offer.
Outsourcing the workload to private vendors is one solution being examined, as well as hiring and then training less qualified inspectors. (Hey, maybe we can get a chimp to do it!) New inspection paradigms that we discussed a while back were not mentioned in the presentation.