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Granite Shoals hires building inspector

Granite Shoals’ new building official, Donny Carpenter, received a warm welcome from city leadership after he was hired in early June. The city had been without an inspector for nearly two years. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Granite Shoals now has a building officer on staff, taking the load off of the utilities department and saving the city money with a more streamlined inspection process.

The city hired Donny Carpenter on June 3 at an annual salary of $84,000, less than what it paid global inspection firm Bureau Veritas for contracted inspection services.

Granite Shoals had been without a full-time building inspector since contractor Mike Light was fired two years ago over unlicensed inspections, which led to a state investigation.

As the building official, Carpenter will conduct mandatory building, plumbing, and electrical inspections. He will manage building permit applications and work with builders to ensure local, state, and federal standards are met and the city is protected from legal liabilities. 

Ultimately, Carpenter will guide homeowners, developers, and builders through the construction process in Granite Shoals.

“His expertise ensures that all construction projects are safe, legal, and aligned with our community’s standards and goals,” reads a written response from city administration to questions from about the new hire.

Utilities Superintendent Joshua Hisey offered his thoughts on the matter. Since October 2022, he has been handling the city’s permitting process on top of his duties running the water system.

“(Hiring Carpenter) is a big deal for us,” he told “I was stretched pretty thin. Now, with Donnie here, we have someone who can do it all.”

Light, the previous building inspector, was fired by former City Manager Peggy Smith in October 2022 at the request of former Mayor Aaron Garcia after it was discovered that Light had been conducting unlicensed plumbing inspections, which could have put the city at legal risk.

Light’s dismissal temporarily destabilized building and permitting in Granite Shoals until Smith brought in Bureau Veritas for inspections and tasked Hisey as a permit coordinator.

The issue came up again in March 2023 when a resident filed an official complaint against Garcia, claiming the former mayor interfered with city staff by asking Smith to fire Light. The complaint was dismissed after a review by the city’s Ethics Review Commission later that year.

Garcia filed an official complaint with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners in April 2023 against Light for the unlicensed plumbing inspections and Smith for knowingly using his contracted services. That investigation was resolved in October 2023 when the state board reprimanded Light and noted that Smith had allowed the inspections to happen.