City law director Don Icsman is dug in, and continues to refuse to release information on the cost of the Nuesse Civil Service hearing, and a ton of other public information on Matt Kline's estimated $1 million integrity probe of fired police Chief Kim Nuesse.
"The city doesn't have that information," Icsman told me during a heated telephone conversation Thursday.
"Attorney-client privilege," he said.
Bull. Pure bull.
"Am I talking to the city's law director?" I asked. "Are you the law director? Can you please facilitate the release of this public information?"
Creating bureaucratic barriers to access strikes me as a serious violation of the public trust. I have a right to that information. You have a right to this information. My tax dollars, your tax dollars and money from the wallets of all your neighbors paid for this dog-and-pony show.
There's nothing transparent about the city's approach to public documents, I told Icsman, and it's his fault.
"I'm sorry you feel that way about it, Matt," he said.
"I'm sorry I feel that way about it, too, Don," I said.
Now, show us the bills. Show them to us now.
Icsman's been just right-center in this fiasco Kline launched on city taxpayers. The law director is a skilled and dedicated public servant and one of the few adults in a leadership position at city hall. But it's way past time Icsman step up and declare whether the public's right to know is more important than a GOB agenda and his own personal job security.
And please, Don, don't use the word "transparent."
Shout-out for Monaghan and Shenigo
(blog posted April 10 by Matt Westerhold)
Maybe I'm easily influenced by what people say, and it seems ironic that I want to write this blog about the brother-in-law of the man who is suing me. But one man is not another, and the actions of one should not influence my thoughts of the other.
And my thoughts about Erie County commissioner Bill Monaghan may be summed up with one word: Wow.
He's creating good dialogue across the county by his no-nonsense businessman's approach to county finances. Monaghan is fighting the good fight for county taxpayers and all I can say is ... you go, Bill.
These are some of the best words from a politician I've heard in years.
n Regarding the long-festering and long-failing methane gas energy project at the county landfill:
"It's time to stop cutting bait and start fishing. We need to get this thing moving quickly."
n Regarding the Sanitary Engineering Department's $1.5 million (or something like that) deficit spending and its incoherent accounting practices:
"I'm just not happy with some of the numbers that are coming out of that department," Monaghan said. "In fact, I'm very unhappy. The numbers that are coming out of that department are like chameleons. Every time you look at it, it changes just like a chameleon changes colors."
Monaghan's the one exposing these problems and demanding they be addressed. And it seems he has a willing partner in fellow Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo, who's attacking the issue of county finances with a similar business person's approach.
It's refreshing and it looks like leadership to me. I hope Bill and Pat keep pushing, keep exposing waste and incompetence and keep working for taxpayers this way.