If you haven't tuned into As City Hall Turns this week, on Monday, City Attorney Pete Holmes denied Mayor Mike McGinn's request to step off from negotiations between the City and the court-appointed monitor tasked with overseeing the reformation of our excessively forceful police department. (McGinn basically accused Holmes of dealing unethically with the court monitor. Holmes stridently denies acting unethically.)
And now this very uncomfortable public fight continues! Yesterday, McGinn appeared on KIRO radio (fun starts at 2:09) to discuss his issues with Holmes.
"There's a fundamental disagreement over what's the role of the city attorney," McGinn said on the radio yesterday. "This has been an ongoing issue." McGinn then referenced a few alcohol-related invoices the court monitor's team initially charged the city. "Our budget office informed our city attorney that these were improper charges and he approved the bill. Now, we're still trying to figure out if we've gotten paid back yet. There's a bigger issue here, the real issue, is what's the role of an elected city attorney? Does he have independent policy making authority?"
Now, fresh from my inbox:
Contrary to Mayor Mike McGinn’s assertion Thursday on KIRO Radio, City Attorney Pete Holmes never approved or sanctioned payment for any alcohol charges that appeared on invoices submitted by the team that is charged with monitoring the reform of the Seattle Police Department for U.S. District Judge James L. Robart.
Before the Monitoring Team submitted its first monthly invoice for November 2012, the City Attorney’s Office informed it that alcohol was not reimbursable under City policy. On the few occasions when alcohol purchased with meals was included on the invoice submitted for December 2012, the invoices were resubmitted without the alcohol charges. The alcohol-related charges submitted for December 2012 (and later removed) were $22.50 plus tax for four drinks and $5.99 for a corkscrew.
As team members began their work in Seattle, the CAO and the City Budget Office educated them about City guidelines on expense reimbursement. That process was more complicated than usual because the team is renting an apartment to save the City money on hotels. Setting up the apartment involved the purchase of certain household items and services—such as linens and cable television—that would not normally appear on contractor invoices because these types of charges would be included in the price of a hotel room. The Monitoring Team has cooperated in this process, and both the team and the City are working to improve the invoice submittal and review process going forward.
Yeesh, guys. This sounds like a job for couple's counseling.