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City parts ways with embattled inspections chief

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: January 10, 2013 - 8:59 AM

The city's former housing inspector, who is battling a charge of misusing drivers license data, agreed yesterday to end his 37-year City Hall career after receiving a severance package.

The city offered to pay Tom Deegan about $51,000 -- half of his salary -- without imposing discipline or finding fault related to charges of data misuse, said his attorney Paul Engh. He will also receive payment for unused vacation and sick time, amounting to roughly $50,000, as well as a full pension.

Deegan's pension from his time in the fire department, which was not impacted by the settlement, is worth about $52,000 annually. That figure will rise to about $64,000 in 2015.

"A significant cloud has lifted for him…he has a significant jump in his step today," Engh said. As part of his departure from the city, Deegan agreed not to file a lawsuit.

Deegan was one of the most visible faces at City Hall until he was charged in September for repeatedly accessing driver and vehicle services (DVS) data without a business purpose. State records show that misuse of the DVS database is common, but criminal charges are rare.

The criminal case and the city's employment discussions with Deegan are separate matters, but Engh said the no-fault resolution "certainly won't hurt" the criminal case. The city could have chosen to pursue the complaint against him and impose discipline.

Deegan is seeking to dismiss the criminal charges. That decision is currently being a mulled by a Hennepin County judge, who heard arguments from Engh and prosecutors in December.

Steve Brandt contributed to this report.

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