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City looking to restructure public works department

Longtime Public Works Director Barry Johnson has been officially suspended from his almost 20-year position with the City of West Fargo.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee told Johnson Monday, Sept. 23 that his services would no longer be needed also issuing a follow-up letter stating the same.

Johnson has ten days, until Oct 3, to appeal the action to the West Fargo City Commission.

Brownlee said the city attorney has advised city officials not to comment on specific reasons for the termination until after the appeal date has ended, but said the city is considering department restructuring within the public works. “We want to go with a change of direction and management of public works and are looking at reorganizing to achieve a better work flow.”

Johnson said Monday he has been considering his options and will be making a decision soon. “l have until Oct. 3 to either resign my position or ask for an appeal hearing on Oct. 7. The appeal would be for reinstating my position, but it is fairly obvious that the City would like to go in a different direction and reorganize (or change management). With this said it would be rather uncomfortable to go back as the Public Works Director at this time. The last week has been very trying on my family and at this point I am leaning towards the resignation of my position and moving on with my life. It is just unfortunate that this is the way it was handled.”

Brownlee said Monday that Johnson, who earns approximately $111,000 yearly , is receiving full salary and benefits through Oct.7.

Assistant Public Works Director Chris Brungardt is serving as interim director until final determinations are made.

The department administers a variety of city services, including sanitation, sewer and water, streets, forestry and storm water management.

Barry Johnson's 2012 and 2011 evaluations with West Fargo by inforumdocs