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Petersburg city attorney: ‘I have stepped on some toes’

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- The  city attorney embroiled in a huge financial mess over unresolved water bills in Petersburg is speaking out.

"I think that it is pretty well known since I've been here that I have stepped on some toes,"Petersburg City Attorney Brian Telfair told WTVR CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones on Friday.

His job is to defend the city in any legal battles.

"As I think a lot of people know, I have nothing to do with finances, I have nothing to do with budgeting, I have nothing to do with the keeping of money. My goal is to basically provide legal services to the city," Telfair explained.

In doing so, Telfair said he has uncovered a number of problems in the city including questionable land deals and contracts.

"And so, in terms of the water bill issue, it might be a good time to try and suck me in," Telfair said.

Petersburg City Attorney Brian Telfair

Petersburg City Attorney Brian Telfair

That is because Telfair and City Manager William Johnson's jobs are on the line as members of Petersburg City Council move forward on their separation agreement from the city.

But Telfair said he remains focused on his job.

In fact, this week his office sent a letter to Johnson Controls, Inc., the company responsible for installing the nearly 12,000 automated water meters for city residents.

Devices that Telfair's investigation have shown to be not working properly or were not properly installed and tested or were never installed.

As a result, Telfair said Johnson Controls, Inc. has until Feb. 29 to respond to his office's request for answers or the city could take legal action against the company.

"There's a lot of things that could've happened, that should've happened, that didn't happen with respect to that deal," Telfair said.

Which is why Telfair said he wants to resolve Peterburg's water issues despite his uncertain future at city hall.

When asked about his plans, he said he will keep working "to provide legal services until such time that my services are not needed."

When CBS 6 asked if he would sue the city if he was fired, Telfair declined to comment.

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