In the controversy over Mayor Jim LiVecchi’s exclusive control of the City Attorney, the Mayor’s approval of legal bills, merely from a list and without reading the bills themselves, has been called into question. (See posts below.) As expected, this practice not only omits oversight of the City Attorney, but invites costly errors. A review of public records shows that this has indeed been the result.
In August 2017, the City Attorney submitted his bills that included charges through July. Individual bills (not publicly available) as well as a bill summary dated 8/11/2017, were sent by the City Attorney to the mayor who, according to his practice, files them only on his personal laptop computer, and not on the City’s server for others who might understand them to see. It is not publicly known whether the mayor ever looked at the detailed individual bills, but he did approve and initial individual charges on the bill summary and authorized payment to the City Attorney of $18,906.28.
Then in September 2017 another bill summary dated 9/5/2017 for items totaling $31,238.46 was received by the mayor along with three detailed bills dated 9/1/2017 totaling $12,328.18. The 22 other matters on the summary seemed to lack detailed bills. These undocumented other matters happened to total $18,906.28, the exact amount approved by the mayor for payment to the City Attorney in the previous month. A look at the 9/5/17 bill summary does show that these other items were dated one month earlier than the three documented items. Comparing the two summaries shows that they were in fact duplicates of the charges already approved for payment by the mayor in the previous month. Nonetheless, the mayor approved them again, authorizing payment to the City Attorney of another $31,238.46 when only due $12,328.18 was due, which would be an over-payment of $18,906.28.
And another point: Why has the City Attorney not yet billed for work done since July?