$35,000 for Warren Turner report?!

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Everyone’s been asking the question: Did City Councilman Warren Turner make sexually inappropriate advances and/or comments to female city employees? Last night, the report of the investigation into those charges was presented, and now I’m asking another question: Why should such a report cost taxpayers $35,000?

Let me say up front that Turner’s alleged misconduct should have been investigated. No government official can be considered above the law nor of proper standards of conduct, and the fact that the allegations against Turner were investigated at all is a good thing. But the investigation should have been handled by city attorney Mac McCarley. The reasoning given for hiring an outside attorney to conduct the probe — the city’s HR folks were uncomfortable questioning one of their bosses’ conduct — doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t have a legal department.

The hired attorney, Valecia McDowell of the Moore & Van Allen firm, said she interviewed 18 people and that the investigation will probably cost the city $35,000. That comes to an incredible $1,944.00 per person interviewed. Yes, I know, lawyers are expensive, but come on. With local government facing epic budget cuts, it would have been wiser to let the staff already in place handle the matter and save the city the $35K. City Council should have demanded that McCarley lead the investigation, period. This writer doesn’t often agree with conservative critics of government spending, but to pour tens of thousands of bucks into a report that could have been handled by McCarley & Co. is beyond wasteful, and shows how easy it is for council to throw around money needlessly.

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