On Mayor Jim LiVecchi’s reelection campaign website, he blames $149,000, or about 1/3rd of the City of Salida’s record city attorney bills, on “Frivolous Costly Lawsuits”. The mayor’s website also posts depositions from one of those lawsuits, District Court Case No. 2016CV030028. One deposition, on page 30, refers to Exhibit 2, a document placed in the public court record of by the Salida city attorney. The document was identified in an affidavit by City Clerk Betty Schwitzer as “an authentic, complete and accurate copy of the one and only document responsive to the Bomer request that is an ‘email … [f]rom Mayor LiVecchi to City Finance Director Jan Schmidt, dated April 9th, 2016 at 5:26 PM.’” That email, as obtained from the public records of the District Court, raises a number of questions regarding the decision making process of the City; such questions as:
Why didn’t the City provide this email in response to the CORA request, resulting in no lawsuit costs at all?
What is in this document that gives the City a legal right to withhold it from the public?
What other reason might the City have to conceal the information in these emails from the public?
Did the City not want the public to know that the mayor was not following the City’s established process for approving city attorney bills for payment, but was initiating an opaque process for payments to the city attorney that continues to this day?
Did the City not want the public to see the mayor’s discourteous personal criticism of a city department head, a practice that has been blamed for the decimation of the city administration?
Did the City not want the public to see that the city attorney, from the first month of his employment, had opened an adversarial privileged matter, #173, against the city administrator?
Was the tone and content of the mayor’s email simply too embarrassing?
Should other representations and characterizations on the mayor’s website be checked out?