Employee Spotlight: Code Compliance Inspector Gail Wahl on a Mission for a Safer Toledo

Monday, May 13, 2024

"Gail is an invaluable asset to our team. She tackles every challenge with determination and a positive attitude serving as an inspiration to her colleagues. Her leadership during the Ashland Manor case is an example of her exceptional skills and passion for making a difference in our community.​"- Jim Molnar, Director of Building and Code Compliance.

Gail Wahl, a Code Compliance Inspector, navigates the streets of Toledo with purpose. Her role involves investigating complaints from residents in an effort to ensure a clean, safe, and healthy community. Her days are unpredictable, each presenting its own unique challenges. “There's no such thing as a typical day for me,” Wahl said. “I never know where the day will take me. From inspecting properties to responding to emails and calls, it's a whirlwind.”

Wahl tries to inspect 10-15 properties a day, unless she is working on a special project case. One such case came under her jurisdiction in late January. The Ashland Manor had countless resident complaints ranging from overflowing garbage to extreme odors and animal waste on the floor in common areas. With 13 years as a city employee under her belt, Wahl fearlessly jumped into action.

“I was the Lead Inspector, and having the health and well-being of 300 of your fellow citizens riding on your shoulders is definitely a challenge,” Wahl said. “Thankfully, I had great direction from Director Molnar, my supervisors, and the other inspectors. Together, we tackled it head-on.”

Wahl faces particular challenges when tracking down neglectful property owners, especially out-of-town landlords. “It's tough,” she said. “But I'm lucky to have an incredible team of inspectors who support me.”

In extremely difficult cases, she relies on her colleagues for help and guidance. “My fellow inspectors are amazing people to work with,” Wahl said. “They have wonderful 'tricks of the trade' to utilize. There have been a few times where I have stalled on a case, and my team came to my aid with a new tool, saving the case. I’m blessed to be a part of such an amazing team.”

That team of inspectors and supervisors nominated Wahl for recognition in this newsletter, especially for her work on Ashland Manor.

Wahl’s dedication to her job stems from her personal experiences and values. As a mother of two and a grandmother of three, her passion for making a difference in the community is deeply rooted. She grew up in the North End near Jamie Farr Park. Her family legacy is where her great love for community came from.

“My great grandfather bought the home I live in, it was built in 1887 and he bought it in 1920, and my grandchildren are the 6th generation to play in the backyard,” Wahl said.

“I spent a lot of my childhood in the house with my grandmother, who was my best friend and a community activist. That's where I get my love for community. My grandmother was 5 years old when she moved in, and she still lived there when she passed at 92 years old. There is also a grapevine that was there before the house was built that every generation has enjoyed. We still use my grandfather’s recipes for grape juice and grape jelly. My son is now trying to figure out his wine recipe.”

Helping Toledo’s neighborhoods thrive for future generations is a priority for Wahl. “My activism was a huge part of why I wanted to get into this position,” Wahl said. “I love my job, and Toledo is a great city with wonderful residents.”

Wahl also credits her personality and modest upbringing for her dedication to her job. “My personality allows me to connect with people on all levels of society,” She said. “I love people! It also gives me great empathy, having grown up poor in HUD housing. To me, it's about more than just enforcing regulations; it's about fostering a sense of community and helping neighborhoods thrive.”

As Wahl continues her work, she remains steadfast in her commitment to making Toledo a better place for everyone.

Thank you Inspector Wahl for all that you do for our residents and for our City.