Friday, July 24, 2009

Did we seriously just pay 550k for Gloria's Diary?

I believe we did. I don't think the settlement amount is going to change anyone's mind about Mayor Funkhouser and his handling of this entire affair. But people really should be holding it against the City Council that had the opportunity to settle this for $135,000 back in December. At the time, I thought it was a stupid move for the Council to reject the settlement offer unless the Mayor dropped his legal challenge of the volunteer ordinance. No one could seriously expect the Mayor to agree to that condition and the costs of moving forward on the volunteer ordinance were predictable and minimal, whereas the exposure on the Bates case was difficult to predict and potentially quite high.

Following the case, most of the reporting has been political gossip, not facts relevant to the actual claims. Reading the depositions, the discovery process also seemed oriented around the politics and not the specific claims. How did they manage to depose Joe Miller without anyone asking him if he took any retaliatory steps against Bates? The woman is claiming retaliation, personal details about her are leaked to the media, you've got the former director of communications under oath and no one asks him about it?

To be clear, I believe that Bates felt genuinely aggrieved and pursued her claim in good faith. But this case has been much bigger than her. And what it mostly has been is an endless stream of embarrassing details. The City Council owed it to the citizens to pull the brakes on this slow motion trainwreck a long time ago. But they preferred to have the already weak Mayor further weakened. They sat back and let the discovery process be used as a scavenger hunt for nepotism charges. And all this delay and exposure had the rather predictable effect of making the prospect of a jury trial an even greater nightmare for the city. The Councilmembers who voted against settlement in December (and even more so yesterday) should be ashamed of themselves and held to account for their poor stewardship through this mess.

One more thing... could someone please take Jim Wirken off the list of attorneys eligible to receive public funds as outside counsel? How did someone not put a stop to that after he charged the County several hundred thousand to defend a declaratory judgment action?

p.s. I really wanted an over the back shot of Winona scribbling in her diary "Must kill Heather" but I couldn't find one. Very sad.

No comments:

Post a Comment