Countless Americans watch the A&E show Hoarders, far fewer live lives where hoarders and other code violators are a daily routine. But in Galt, where code enforcement is a one-man job, everyday brings an opportunity to work with a wide range of challenges.

Rusty Hughes is the only code enforcement officer in the City of Galt, and handles between 400 and 500 cases each year – with a successful closing rate of nearly 95 percent. Each day, it isn’t uncommon for Mr. Hughes to leave in the morning with a slate of potential violations to investigate only to return to the office at the end of the day to find eight or 10 more calls waiting for his attention. But through his work, he sees a real impact in his community.

He’s found ways to work with property owners and tenants to resolve issues quickly and in a friendly way. In what can sometimes be a contentious line of work, he tries to demonstrate that the City is there to help, not dictate. And people have been largely responsive.

One house, which was home to a hoarder for more than six decades, needed cleaning, painting, refuse removal, and other work to bring the home up to code after its owner passed away. Mr. Hughes worked with the family every step of the way, removing more than a dozen abandoned cars and nearly 15 dumpsters full of refuse. And the block is the better for it.

Mr. Hughes was recognized as the City’s employee of the year in 2010.

Read the full story at the Lodi News.