Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Did he really say that?

Does this make any sense?

According to WWL
Randall Smith

"Attorney Randy Smith said Meffert had use of the card while technology director and was authorized to use it to help NetMethods get business outside the city. Smith said the Hawaii trip had such a business purpose."

Why should Meffert be pimping his boyz? Wasn't he supposed to be helping run the city? Isn't accepting something of value for his endorsement of a vendor a conflict of interest, unethical and illegal?

How come the Mayor didn't know the "Business Purpose" of the trip?

This gets stranger and stranger. I can't wait to read Nagin's deposition, man.

Speaking of Nagin's deposition. Was anyone else struck by the irony of Nagin, ' "not an ordinary citizen." Like high-ranking federal government officials, he should not have to participate in depositions except in "exceptional circumstances," submitting to an ' "intrusive, embarrassing and burdensome" ... request by plaintiffs' attorneys asking Nagin about the surveillance network.' While having sufficient time to accept a family trip as a gift from a subordinate who paid for the trip using someone else's credit card?

I guess going to the beach is a better use of his time than answering questions about the activities of one of his protegees.

Finally I wonder who is the Mayor's press press flak really is. The very quiet and often silent Ceeon Quiett or City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields.

Ms. Moses-Fields conveniently let it be known that her office was filing a curiously timed cross claim against Dell. It is apparently based on a filing the Plaintiff's made earlier this month citing an email to a contractor's employee working in the city IT Department. Not withstanding that these employees routinely let people think they were actual city employees by, among other things using city email addresses and business cards. The Problem with the timing is that The City Attorney's office was present for Mr. Meffert's deposition in November when this email was discussed at some length.

There is another issue some people have commented on concerning the City Attorney's conduct. The City Charter states;

Section 4-401. Functions.
The Department of Law, headed by a City Attorney, shall:

(1) Direct and supervise the legal affairs of the City.

(2) Provide legal advice to the Mayor and Council when requested and when directed by the Mayor to all officers, departments, and boards concerning any matter affecting the interests of the City.

(3) Have charge of all legal matters in which the City has an interest or to which the City is a party, with power and authority, when directed by the Mayor or the Council, to institute and prosecute or to intervene in any and all suits or other proceedings, civil or criminal, as may be deemed necessary for the assertion or protection of the rights and interests of the City.

Another section of the Charter places some responsibility on the City Attorney for some of these questionable contracting practices;
(5) Prepare or approve as to form and legality all contracts, documents and instruments creating any legal or conventional obligation affecting the City.
While nothing I know of in the current case is outside the responsibility of the City Attorney, including representing the Mayor in his official capacity regarding this lawsuit. The office of City Attorney does seem to have become an advocate for the Executive over the Council, appearing to act as the Mayor's personal legal representative, rather than as a legal watchdog of the interests of the City. Something Robert Cerasoli pointed out some time ago.

I hope that Ms. Moses-Fields will keep in mind that her obligation is to The City and not to any person. If it looks like the City's interests and the Mayor's conflict, she should advise him of the conflict and step away from those questions. As the City's Attorney, if she is aware of any wrongdoing on the part of any City official or employee, I believe she has an obligation to report it.

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