After listening to repeated pleas for help from borough homeowners who are dealing with blighted neighboring properties, Coaldale council on Tuesday hired Jamie Lee Nicholas as a part-time code enforcement officer.

Nicholas, who lives on Greenwood Street in the Seek section of town, replaced Mark Richards, who resigned last month. Upon accepting Richards' resignation, council had appointed Deborah Hatmaker to the position; however, she resigned within the week.

Nicholas told council he's up to the task.

A bus driver for the Panther Valley School District, Nicholas has had his own experiences with deteriorating properties: He lives near a double house at 119-121 Greenwood St. that burned four years ago, and has yet to be razed.

Council, with Andrew Girard absent, all voted in favor of hiring Nicholas.

Councilwoman Nancy Lorchak warned Nicholas that the job would be demanding, and that he would need to appear at court hearings and field numerous telephone calls at home.

"It's a big responsibility, and you'll have a lot of authority," she said.

Councilman Joe Hnat advised Nicholas to seek the counsel of solicitor Michael Greek if he had any questions. In a related move, council agreed to order updated code enforcement books and to have a badge made for Nicholas.