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Clarksburg officials, residents react to allegations against Building Code Officials

Clarksburg citizens and leadership showed up to the City Council meeting Wednesday night and responded to the recent allegations against the city's Building Code Officials.
 
As of Wednesday night, the city has claimed it has not received the complaint issued by the West Virginia Fire Commission alleging Clarksburg Code Office employees were unlicensed or had invalid continuing education certificates and employees utilized an unlawful building code to target specific properties and property owners.
 
The issue is also the subject of two pending court cases.
 
City Manager Martin Howe said he could not get into the specifics of the complaint without having seen it. He did say the Fire Commission certainly has its right to bring it about, even if he did not agree with it.
 
"Obviously, everyone has a right to file complaints, we absolutely acknowledged that," he said. "We look forward to showing our side to the complaint. Our day will be in court and we'll have to take it step-by-step and leave it in the hands of our legal counsel that we retained as well as to the administrative law judge for the outcome."
 
During the public comment portion of the council meeting, two citizens voiced their concerns about the code enforcement program.
 
Martin Shaffer, Clarksburg resident and former city council member said one of his concerns was the allegation in the complaint in which "employees acted independently or together to enrich themselves and others through the use of public funds and the unlawful building code program" violated property owners' civil rights.
 
"These council members don't understand what civil rights means," he said. "Maybe we need someone to come into the city of Clarksburg to teach them, to educate them on the law."
 
Shaffer and others also were concerned with the allegation involving the Building Code Officials not having proper certification or having invalid continuing education certificates.
 
"How do you enforce any laws if you don't know the laws," Shaffer said. "It is incumbent upon the city of Clarksburg to send people to get an education. They have to go get an education, they have to be trained. If they're not  being trained, they can't do their job."
 
With legal action pending, Howe said the city is looking forward to progressing.
 
"We're interested to move it forward, to get it behind us and to look for better days," he said. "Obviously, we have a lot to look forward to in the city of Clarksburg and we want to continue with the projects we're working on and we will continue to do so."
 
According to Lawrence Messina, spokesperson for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, the next step in the process if for the Fire Commission to select and hearing examiner.
 
The complaint can be read here, while the letter can be read here.