Council Affirms Attorney-Client Privelege, Votes Unanimously to Minimize Redactions

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By Dave Freneaux

In a special called meeting Monday morning the Central City Council voted unanimously to waive attorney-client privilege for most of the information contained in the City Attorney's July & August invoices.  The invoices, asked for last week in a Public Records Request, contained two references which, if released, might have jeopardized Central's legal position in potential litigation.  Council Members Washington, Moak, LoBue and DeJohn all voted to "redact", or black out, these two references, which was done to protect the City's Attorney-Client Privilege.
The 10 AM meeting in the conference room at City Hall was packed to overflowing, with almost 40 officials and citizens in attendance.  The discussion, which was heated at times, included many public comments, most of which encouraged the Council to provide any records which would not put Central in jeopardy in future litigation or violate the privacy of an individual.  The original request for the 16 pages of legal bills was made under the legal requirement to provide the information within 72 hours.  As a result, City Attorney Sheri Morris redacted all information which is protected under Attorney-Client Privilege, resulting in most of the descriptions in the bills being blacked out.  Since only the client, in this case the City of Central as represented by the Council, can waive privilege and release the information, the meeting was called.  The Council recognized its right to protect the information, but saw only two references requiring redaction and voted to release the rest of the information to the public.

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