Westfield Board Ad Hoc Committee Agrees to Pay Taft Bills, Suspends BKD Bills • Current Post
At the December 27 Westfield City Council meeting, Council Member Troy Patton reported on the progress of the Council’s Ad Hoc Legal Committee since its inception at the December 13 meeting. The report led the board to unanimously pay all bills held by the law firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister. The board also unanimously approved a motion to defer payment of BKD invoices until the ad hoc committee has had a chance to meet with BKD associates, scheduled for Jan. 2. BKD is a CPA firm.
The ad hoc committee was formed after several board members expressed concern that they had not seen itemized invoices for over-budget legal expenses at the December 13 meeting. The committee was due to meet with city lawyer and Taft partner Manny Herceg within days of the council meeting, although Herceg said he could only provide detailed information on Taft’s invoices and not the invoices. legal rights of other companies. The committee is made up of board members Patton, Scott Willis and Jake Gilbert.
Patton said the committee looked at all of Taft’s bills and found that about $ 7,400 in expenses had been “blacked out” so board members couldn’t see them. Herceg agreed to reduce Taft’s bill by removing these expenses.
Patton, however, said the committee is still reviewing BKD’s invoices. BKD was engaged to perform a forensic examination for a city-wide audit.
“I want to remind everyone that their job was limited to forensic or forensic examination only, and I think some of these things that were billed to us are completely outside that scope,” he said. Patton said. “I speak with BKD after January 2 when they come back. But anyway, I also requested a bigger discount on these items, and we don’t agree on these.
Much of the city’s off-budget legal spending is the result of a dispute between Mayor Andy Cook and Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Gossard.
“A lot of that (surplus) was obviously lawsuits, which for any of us would be a failure of governance,” Gilbert said. “We had to pay extra for the lawsuits, and everyone is upset about it, and the board has made it clear in the future that we will not fund such things.”
Gilbert said he didn’t want the public to feel that all the excess was the result of litigation. Part of it was accrued due to a change in city lawyers and consulting fees.
The board agreed to pay Taft’s expenses and to suspend payment of BKD’s expenses until further consideration.
“I don’t want to pay BKD bills until we have had a chance to discuss it with them,” Patton said. “In no way does this mean that we owe this money or that we agree to pay the full amount.”
Gossard asked for the amount charged on the BKD bills so that she would know how much to charge. Patton said he did not have the number readily available but would provide it at a later date.
To find out more, visit westfield.in.gov.