North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard’s efforts to fine a company operating against his orders have been cut short by the city’s board of public health.
Bernard told the Crane Stationery Factory Monday that he intended to fine it $1,000 a day for noncompliance with an order requiring it to solely focus on essential business. City attorneys told the mayor that the board of health was the body responsible for enforcing the fine – and Thursday, it voted against the plan, much to Bernard’s dismay.
“The May 3rd order and the May 10th orders from the city were legal and the board’s failure to act on them prevents us from assessing and enforcing the fines that I had stated I intended to peruse as a measure of taking corrective action in response to Crane’s noncompliance,” said the mayor.
The plant’s owner, Cohoes, New York-based Mohawk Paper, previously said Bernard had overstepped his authority. The back and forth emerged after the company reopened the plant on May 8th for the first time since mid-March. The company plans sweeping layoffs in June.