Information from WYSH Radio
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has vetoed a resolution passed unanimously by the County Commission in December that would establish procedures for the county when outside legal counsel is needed for county employees not covered by the law director or counsel from the county’s insurance provider.
The measure would require all requests for outside counsel to be submitted in writing to both County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey and Law Director Jay Yeager.
The Clinton Courier News reported that commissioners found out about the veto on Friday.
In a letter explaining her decision sent to McKamey, the mayor indicated that she had concerns that the resolution could conflict with existing state laws and could lead to perceived or real conflicts of interest related to Yeager’s office.
During this month’s Commission meeting, the resolution was said to provide the Budget Department with safeguards when paying legal bills for the county and make sure that everyone knew what was happening with the various legal actions occurring in the county.
Frank’s letter indicated her concerns over allowing Yeager to view the requests, writing: “As you can imagine, allowing the law director to inspect the invoices of counsel in a case where the law director may be adverse or perhaps be a witness, would be fraught with both real and perceived conflicts, should he fail to issue his approval.”
McKamey told the Courier that he believes that the mayor simply does not want Yeager to know what is going on, adding that the resolution was an attempt to “take some heat off” the Budget Office, which had been accused of paying legal bills illegally, had some bills sent back, and paid some that did not need to be paid.
During the December Commission meeting, Budget Director Chris Phillips told commissioners that when legal bills come in to his office, he pays them because he “just assumed they needed to be paid.”
It remains unclear if commissioners will attempt to override Frank’s veto or let the resolution go by the wayside.
See the WYSH website for more information, including a copy of the letter from Frank to McKamey, explaining her veto.
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