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Fast and loose at city hall

Matt Westerhold • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Yee-hah and hallelujah. Taxpayers aren't going to get sacked with the $22,000 bill for the tainted and inaccurate Murman report and the tens of thousands being spent right now on the Nuessegate civil service hearings. City leaders are almost sure the city's liability insurer will pick up the tab.

"I'm pretty sure the insurance is covering everything," city manager Matt Kline said Thursday. But Kline, law director Don Icsman and finance director Ed Widman refused to release public documents that might back that up. Skirting the state public records law is no big deal down at city hall. The trick for any city officials is to point a finger at another city official and say, "It's not my job," when it comes to aligning with the rules.

But yee-hah and hallelujah. The insurance carrier gets stuck with what could be a multi-million dollar settlement. Probably, except for any punitive damage awards against any culpable witnesses. The witnesses will have to pay those. There's another snag, too: Who paid the $429,000 bill for the insurance earlier this year, and will the bill be bigger next year? You bet your assets it will.

That would be you, good old taxpayers, taking on the chin no matter what. Maybe the expenditures will all be worth it, however, because the Nuessegate hearings that begin Monday could turn into a trial of the GOB. These buds are going to have to testify under oath. Yee-hah and hallelujah. I'm betting some of these fine witnesses will be squirming in that seat after they raise their right hand.

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