The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 11, 2014

Your View: Red herring

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin City Council mess can be separated into two issues.

The first is the assignment given the hired investigator, and the second is the financial terms of the contract with him.

On the first issue, the assignment given the investigator has been well-publicized and consists of three parts, each being specific in language and scope. The investigator must have understood the three charges he was assigned to investigate, as he did not ask the City Council to clarify any concerns. More importantly, he did not ask for authority to investigate beyond the three assigned charges. Certain council members have repeatedly suggested that the investigator could have interpreted the scope of work assigned as “open-ended.”

This suggestion is a red herring presented to distract attention away from the real problem — that the investigator apparently unilaterally expanded the scope of the investigation without the authority to do so.

On the second issue, no prudent individual, especially an investigator whose profession is the practice of law, could misinterpret the contract’s financial terms and expenditure limits. The investigator did not have authorization to exceed the limits of the contract, period.

The taxpayers of the city of Joplin, through their elected representatives on the City Council, owe the hired investigator only for the scope of work assigned and only for documented services rendered up to the limits of the contract.

Brad Fagan

Joplin

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