An alleged violation of the Election Campaign Finance Law against the City by Mark Laws was thrown out by the State of Michigan but not until it cost taxpayers $5,020.00.
Council Members Dan Clark and Bob Truesdale’s October lawsuit against the city has cost taxpayers $6,372.00 to date with additional costs to come.
At December’s council meeting, Mr. Clark read a second statement, again outlining what it would take for he and Mr. Truesdale to drop the action. Along with other requirements they are demanding taxpayers foot the bill for their attorney fees to the tune of over $7500.00! Folks, that is $13, 872.00 and counting for that petty allegation alone. In Clark’s statement he states, “It should be restated that the feelings of the plaintiffs (Clark and Truesdale) are that the then sitting Council members are in no way responsible for the non-compliance with the Open Meetings Act requirements for a closed session. Neither do the plaintiffs feel that legal council intentionally misused the ‘written legal opinion’ exemption as the basis for the closed session. However, the feelings of the plaintiffs are that the closed session to hear the information from attorney Sluggett and discuss the terms of the city manager’s new contract should have been kept in an open meeting.”
So, if they don’t believe council members or legal council are responsible and didn’t intentionally misuse the exemption as the basis for the closed session, why did they sue themselves and the council instead of working it out? These men clearly do not understand their roles as council members. To date they have cost taxpaying citizens over $12,831.50, which includes costs for the original allegation in the disciplining of Council Member Truesdale. If council caves to their demands, that total goes to $20,331.50-plus, unless they end the lawsuit now without conditions.
The original investigation into wrongdoing needs to go forward as the cost will be nothing to taxpayers and could very well exonerate past council members. The present council would be well advised to refuse to cave in to Clark and Truesdale’s demands, as taxpayers should not cover the legal costs for their senseless complaints.
Kathryn A. Bremmer, Cedar Springs
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