This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






State of Minnesota,


William Burton Pollard,



Filed September 4, 2001


Randall, Judge


St. Louis County District Court

File No. T800601542



Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Bryan F. Brown, Duluth City Attorney, William A. Blodgett, Assistant City Attorney, 410 City Hall, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent)


William D. Paul, 1217 East First Street, Duluth, MN 55805 (for appellant)


Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Parker, Judge.*


R. A. RANDALL, Judge

Appellant electrician challenges his conviction of violating a city electrical ordinance. Appellant argues that an electrical inspector's letter did not comply with the notification requirements of Minn. Stat. 326.244, subd. 2(c) (1998), and did not order him to fix the electrical-ordinance violations. Because the statute's notification requirements do not apply here and because the record supports the conviction for willful failure to correct cited violations, we affirm.


Appellant William B. Pollard contracted with a Duluth property owner to perform electrical work for a backyard hot tub.[1] Pollard wired a subpanel, dug a trench, and laid CMR-insulated telephone wire in the trench. Under the city's electrical ordinances, CMR-insulated wire is not approved for outdoor use. Pollard filled the trench before a city electrical inspector performed a "rough-in" examination of its depth.

On December 10, 1999, a Duluth electrical inspector came to examine Pollard's work on the property. The inspector faxed Pollard a letter on December 13, noting the following violations of the city's electrical ordinances:

1. Communication cable not suitable for direct burial.

2. Trench covered, depth unknown.

3. Grounding and neutral installed incorrectly in subpanel.

Pollard replied, asking the inspector to provide him with references to the city's electric code and to explain the alleged violations.

The inspector faxed Pollard a copy of the original letter with citations to the 1999 National Electrical Code sections next to the alleged violations. Pollard and the inspector exchanged another round of correspondence, attempting to determine the relevant code-subsection citation for the subpanel. The parties do not dispute that the city of Duluth has explicitly adopted the 1999 National Electric Code. See Duluth, Minn., Legislative Code 10-1 (2000) (adopting Minnesota State Building Code, Minn. Stat. 16B.59-.75 (2000)); Minn. R. 1315.0200, subp. 1 (1999) (incorporating the 1999 National Electric Code into the Minnesota State Building Code).

On December 27, 1999, the city charged Pollard for failing to correct the electrical-code violations. The complaint cited the failure to use direct-burial communications cable, the filling of the trench before its inspection, and the wiring work performed on the subpanel.

Pollard's trial took place in August and September 2000. During closing arguments, Pollard's attorney claimed that the electrical inspector's letter violated Minn. Stat. 326.244, subd. 2(c) (1998), because it failed to notify him that he had a reasonable opportunity to bring his work into compliance with the city's electrical code. The district court determined that the inspector's letter complied with the statute and found Pollard guilty of violating Duluth's electrical codes. This appeal followed.


I. Minn. Stat. 326.244 (1998)

Pollard argues that the Duluth electrical inspector's letter failed to provide him with the notice required by Minn. Stat. 326.244, subd. 2(c), which provides in pertinent part:

the order of the inspector shall permit a reasonable opportunity for the installation to be brought into compliance with accepted standards of construction for safety to life and property prior to the effective time established for condemnation or disconnection.


The city contends that the statute does not apply here.

Under Minnesota law, any political subdivision "may make provision for inspection of electrical installations within its jurisdiction." Minn. Stat. 326.244, subd. 4. Pollard claims that Duluth "has not provided for any procedure relative to electrical inspections" and concludes, therefore, that the notification requirements of section 326.244 apply here. We disagree.

Duluth has adopted procedures for electrical inspections. See Duluth, Minn., Legislative Code 10-25 (1999). Duluth's electrical-inspection ordinances provide that electrical inspections are required:

All electrical work installed or altered in or upon any building * * * shall be under the supervision and regulation of the building official. All such work shall be executed and maintained in conformity with the provisions of the State Building Code.


Duluth, Minn., Legislative Code 10-25(a). The ordinances allow an inspector to order changes to improperly installed electrical wiring and further provide that "[a]ll work shall be left uncovered and convenient for inspection until fully approved" by an appropriate city official. Id. at 10-25(b), (e). But unlike the provision of the state statute on which Pollard relies, Duluth's ordinances do not require the inspector's order to provide notice that an electrical contractor has a reasonable opportunity to cure a defective installation. See generally id., 10-25.

Because Duluth has adopted ordinances providing for electrical inspections, the notification requirements of section 326.244 do not apply. The failure of the inspector to notify Pollard that he had a reasonable opportunity to cure defective installation did not violate the city ordinance.

II. The Inspector's Letter

Pollard asserts that the inspector's letter was not an order, and thus he could not be charged with the failure to correct electrical-code violations. However, the absence of an order to fix the violations is not essential to Pollard's conviction.

Under Minnesota law, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly or willfully violate any city ordinance that pertains to powers given to political subdivisions under section 326.244, subdivision 4. Minn. Stat. 326.246(5) (1998). At all times relevant, Duluth had an ordinance requiring all electrical work to be executed in conformity with the 1999 National Electrical Code. See Duluth, Minn., Legislative Code 10-25(a) (providing that all electrical work "shall be executed and maintained in conformity with the provisions of the State Building Code"); Minn. R. 1315.0200, subp. 1 (1999) (incorporating 1999 National Electrical Code into State Building Code). Pollard's work failed to comply with the 1999 National Electric Code, in violation of Duluth's electrical ordinances. Pollard admitted that he knew the inspector's letter was intended to get him to "go and fix" the cited violations. By failing to correct his defective installation, Pollard intentionally violated the city ordinance requiring electrical work to be executed in conformity with the National Electrical Code. The record contains enough evidence to support the conviction under section 326.246.


* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, 10.

[1] Although it is not clear from the record whether Pollard himself or others in his company performed the work that led to the city charging Pollard with violations of its electrical code, that issue is not relevant to this appeal.