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Ontonagon hires building inspector without license

Skip Schulz/For the Gazette The Ontonagon Village Council decided on a building inspector that does not have the state-required license.

ONTONAGON — The Ontonagon Village Council hired Rich Ernest as the village building inspector and code enforcement officer. He was recommended to be hired by the village’s Personal Committee.

The village also received the application from Emmanuel Voight of Trout Creek.

The council agreed with the Personal Committee that Mr. Ernest obtain his inspector’s license before any building inspection.

“He (Ernest) stated he can obtain the license within 90 days,” said Village Manager Joe Erickson in a memo.

The village will prepare contracts and documents for the position to address conflicts of interest a person in the building inspector position may have and provide for a qualified alternate.

“This will likely include a mutual assistance agreement with neighboring jurisdictions to provide a qualified building inspector in the event of conflict of interest, illness, or absence,” said Erickson.

Earlier in Monday night’s council meeting, Sue Lockhart questioned how the council can hire a building inspector that does not have a license.

“I think it would be easier to table this until he (Ernest) has his license,” said council member Mike Mogan.

Erickson and new Village President Tony Smydra talked about how long this issue and position has been in front of the council.

“We’ve waited a long time,” said counsellor Don Chastan.

Chastain then made the motion to hire Ernest. The council unanimously supported hiring Chastan.

“His actual hiring is contingent on him (Ernest) getting his license,” said Mogan.

Erickson stated that the final decision to hire Ernest will be after he gets his license and at a future council meeting.

No one mentioned the other applicant and it is not known if that applicant had his license or not.

Ernest has been a supporter of the council and serves on the village’s Downtown Development Authority and the Ontonagon Village Housing Commission.

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