St. Paul loses first round in court battle as state takes over business inspections

A judge refused to stop the state Health Department’s takeover of St. Paul’s inspections of food retailers and restaurants.

The state had stepped in this week to take over the inspections, saying the city had failed an evaluation last year and hadn’t taken the necessary steps for improvement.

The city challenged the action, but on Friday Judge Elena Ostby refused to grant the city a temporary restraining order.

Mayor Chris Coleman said the city would continue to fight the hostile takeover of what the city considers a core city service. Coleman said in a statement:

“On July 8th, 2013 the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture unilaterally and suddenly took over control of inspections in businesses in the City of Saint Paul, a program the city has run for more than 100 years,. As noted by Judge Ostby, the city made the necessary investments in staffing, resources, programing, policies, and procedures to maintain a safe and effective food, pool, and lodging inspections program. As before, I am confident that the City of Saint Paul is best suited to conduct inspections of businesses within the City of Saint Paul.  Moving forward, I plan to explore all options that return this important line of business back to the city and we will continue to act in the best interest of our visitors, residents and business owners.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/15/2013 - 08:49 am.

    Good.

    We can save the $350,000 a year we spent on this, above and beyond the $1,000,000 collected in inspection and licensing fees, and get some enforcement in the process. It seems to me that the mayor’s interest is in keeping the 15 or so jobs involved and that the support from the business community is due, at least in part, to lax enforcement by the city and compliant officials.

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