City Council Funds Legal Expenses

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By Dave Freneaux

    In Tuesday's City Council meeting it was reported that legal expenses for the 2010/2011 fiscal year would exceed the City's Legal Fees budget.  As such, an ordinance was introduced to appropriate an additional $40,000 to cover unanticipated legal expenses.  Council Member Louis DeJohn researched the year's expenditures and reported that two events have impacted this year's legal fees budget.  First, over $25,000 in legal bills were incurred as the result of an unprecedented public records request leading to the production of over 7,000 documents, many of which involved legal review.  Second, approximately $15,000 has been spent in the process of meeting with the 21 member City Services Contract Committee and preparing contracts for the upcoming bids for Central's City Services Contract.

    Without funds to pay for legal services for the remaining four months of the fiscal year, Central would have no legal representation to advise and prepare legal documents for the Council and the Mayor and there would be no legal representation at Council meetings.  In addition, the process of receiving bids for Central's five year City Services contract and awarding the contract would have to be done without legal counsel unless the bid process were postponed.  With this five year contract involving in excess of $3 million per year, legal advice is all but required to complete the bid process.  Faced with the responsibility of protecting the legal interests of the City of Central, the Council unanimously approved the appropriation.

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