Money for private investigator to come from Joplin’s general revenue fund
Last night, the council voted to pay the investigator, hired to look into alleged misconduct against two councilmen. Today, the city’s finance director told us the $38,000 that had already been paid for the investigation came from the city’s general revenue fund. We’ve also learned that the remaining money owed will be paid from the same fund.
Not every council member voted to pay the investigator. One council member we talked with today feels the council isn’t doing its job.
“We were elected to represent the citizens of our city and to do what’s best for the city. And I think that we’ve strayed from that,” says Councilman Gary Shaw.
Shaw considers himself a peacemaker.
“I want this thing to get over with. I want us to go one. But I’m not at peace just spending citizens’ money and wasting money,” says Shaw.
But during Monday’s city council meeting, Councilwoman Trisha Raney was worried not paying the investigator’s bill meant a lawsuit from the investigator against the city. Raney, and four others, voted to pay the $82,000 bill with the stipulation that so called “double charges” be taken out.
Shaw estimates the investigator charged $909 for miles traveled and about $364 for gas.
The investigator’s bill will be paid once one of those charges is taken away, though the council did not specify which charge they want taken away.
“I can only think of the unfairness to the population that we’re spending 80 thousand dollars that could go to our residents and lots of other programs within the city, that are going to an investigation that we don’t have the details about,” says area resident Christa Tullis.
The investigator’s itemized bill remains confidential to the public, and the full investigation report was taken away from the city council by the investigator.
“Something wasn’t communicated with the investigator,” says area resident Toby Teeter.
“Not everybody can be trusted, unfortunately,” says Shaw. I’ve learned that human nature, I guess, is to twist things and mold things to fit the agenda that we have.”
It’s an agenda funded by taxpayers.
There are two other stipulations the council set forth in order to pay the bill. The council wants a letter from the investigator explaining why former city manager Mark Rohr was investigated. The council also wants the investigator’s entire report delivered to the city attorney.