Voted to pay a modified bill that included the elimination of any duplication of expenses. A law suit filed by the investigator would result in substantial additional costs. I did not ask for the investigation, Councilman Woolston asked for the investigation. Councilman Siebert ask for expansion of the investigation.
I am a challenger; hence did not. Knowing a s little as I know now about the report, I would not until it was released in its entirety with EVERYTHING in----no cross outs or black outs! This is a contract issue not a personnel one, and all of the investigation needs to see the light of day. I have filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city Clerk’s office, and been denied the backup material as well as the missing 10 pages. Once this investigation material is released in its ENTIRETY; and after I am elected I will call for an immediate independent forensic audit. I would call for the agency selected to examine the entire scenario of the Wallace-Bajalli contract, its original procurement, negotiation, and the entire administrations and details of its transactions since the tornado.
I don’t have all the facts the current council members do. But, based upon what I know – information available to the public - I don’t feel that paying the bill in full was the appropriate thing to do. The contract between the city and the investigator clearly stated the payment terms and the protocol for handling overages. Since it appears to me that the protocol wasn’t handled in the way the contract allows, the city should not be responsible for paying more than the agreed upon amounts.
Yes. My initial reaction to the news that the bill had gone over the original amount was to not pay the excess amount. However, after careful consideration, I felt it was in the best interest of the City to pay the whole bill. Mr. Loraine clearly felt his billing was justified. I believe that had the issue been brought to Council before the work was completed, as it should have been, the Council most likely would have voted to authorize the additional spending in order to have the investigation completed. Furthermore, there was a high likelihood of Mr. Loraine filing a lawsuit against the City if he was not paid in full. Even if we had won such a suit, which is not guaranteed, we would have had additional legal costs. It was a business decision to pay the extra amount rather than risk further costs to the City.
I voted NO to pay the investigator in excess of the contract. The investigator was charged to look into three areas, the City Manager was not being investigated. The investigator spent a large amount of time on the City Manager which I feel was not authorized by Council nor would I have voted in favor to investigate the City Manager.
I am on record having voted against paying it at the last council meetings. I believe in paying bills that are owed; however there is a contract between the council and the investigator with specific and detailed provisions for what we wanted him to do and what he was to be paid. I feel he strayed from the directions we gave him in his investigation and his contract clearly states that if additional charges beyond the approved amount in the contract were to be charged that he would come back to the council for approval, which he did not do.
I have given this question much thought over the past two weeks, and I believe that if I were on City Council, I would approach this from two angles. First, the wording of the contract regarding the investigation City Council was the only body that could approve an extension on the budget. We know that City Council did not approve an extension, so based on raw hard data I believe the City could refuse payment of the overage. But, and second, in my professional career I have had many employees acting on my behalf, and there have been times where employees have committed me for something I was not comfortable with. In those times, I professionally live up to the commitments they made, and then have a very strong conversation with my employee regarding my frustrations. If it persisted they would not remain my employee for long.
Without knowing the details of the agreement the City Council made when they hired the investigator, I can not gave a fair answer to this question. However, the City Council voted that night eight to one to accept the report, so I feel like they should pay the bill, there is a possible the City could get sued over this issue.
Not only did I vote NOT to pay the inflated invoice from the investigator, I voted against accepting the report when it was presented in the public meeting on February 4, 2014. The city’s contract with the investigator clearly states that “ In the event that Loraine finds that the cost of the investigation will exceed the amounts listed herein above, he shall first request additional authority from the Council of the City of Joplin.” He did NOT do that. He indicates that the city attorney led him to believe the authorization of a higher amount would be no problem. However, the investigator is an attorney and as such, knows how to read a contract. He knew, or should have known, that the city attorney did not have the authority to approve a higher amount; only the council had that authority and again, that authority was neither requested nor given.
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