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Mayor addresses 'shut down' of building department

Johnson said he felt the need to address the issue because some people thought his department was engaging in "rogue" or illegal actions, which led the commission to shut down the department.

"In fact, it's just the opposite," said Johnson, who said the city has hired outside legal counsel. "I believe we have solid legal ground to contest the action and reverse it. I have been in consultation with an attorney it won't happen overnight, unfortunately."

In the meantime, Johnson has taken action to offer a temporary solution to the much bigger problem. Effective Wednesday, Aug. 4, the building department should be able to begin operating again.

"They can operate according to the way their job was before it was revised and amended this past July 19. I've issued a memo to these inspectors authorizing them for a period of up to three months. That gives time to revise the legal issues with the city and Civil Service Commission," said Johnson.

Johnson also made a point to address threats he said he has received from the commission.

"Threats have been made by the commission to have me arrested, charged with a misdemeanor if I proceed to issue building permits at this time. I don't take threats lightly," said Johnson. "This is prime building season and we must take action. We can't sit back and accept what we believe is illegal action. The battle isn't over yet. I didn't ask for it and I'm certainly not going to back away from it."

The council also set a date for the next public hearing regarding the proposed capital budget. That will be at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11 and at 6:45 p.m. before the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

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