Meet Debra Rodriguez-Dickerson, Code Compliance Officer 1
Debra Rodriguez-Dickerson hasn’t worked a day in her life, even though she started with the City of Toledo in 1995.
“Some call my work a job, however, I like to think of my employment as a conduit to relationships. Communication between home owners, renters, managers, business owners, neighbors, law enforcement, and mediation settings are key elements in my work,” Rodriguez-Dickerson said.
As a Code Compliance Officer 1, Rodriguez-Dickerson is very busy. She connects resources for home repairs, implements the demolition process for dilapidated dwellings, and checks on the safety of people, pets, and living conditions.
“No two days have ever been alike,” Rodriguez-Dickerson said.
Some days have been stranger than others. Rodriguez-Dickerson remembers receiving a complaint about a cow. When she arrived at the residence, the owner swore up and down that there was no cow to be found on the property.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a young woman sauntering down the sidewalk with a cow. Rodriguez-Dickerson stopped her for an explanation.
“Oh the cow is my service and comfort companion,” the young woman said. “The pig in the garage is my father’s and the goat belongs to my grandma, why?”
One of Rodriguez-Dickerson’s proudest moments on the job was when she connected a widow to one of the city’s neighborhood programs for a roof replacement. He would have been placed in a nursing facility had he not been financially able to make the home improvement on his own.
“I have met some of the most caring, respectful, and intelligent people throughout the city of Toledo,” Rodriguez-Dickerson said.
Rodriguez-Dickerson comes from a large family. Her mother was born in Texas and had eight brothers and sisters. Her father’s family is rooted in west Toledo, which is where Rodriguez-Dickerson grew up. She attended Horace Mann Elementary and Whitmer High School.
“We are a multicultural blend of all faiths, cultures, and diversity. I am married and recently became a grandma! Gasp!” Rodriguez-Dickerson said.
Rodriguez-Dickerson said that she has been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of her colleagues in Building and Code Enforcement. Co-workers often help each other when a family member has passed away unexpectedly or when someone is facing a problem.
“I work alongside some of those remarkable people and know that the world is a better place because of them,” Rodriguez-Dickerson said.