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PB County Acknowledges Legitimacy of Cities’ IG Lawsuit

County: Cities’ Lawsuit raises a “key issue.”

May 21, 2013

(West Palm Beach, FL) – The Office of the Palm Beach County Attorney, the party fighting the lawsuit filed by several cities over funding the Inspector General, acknowledged today that it believes the question being raised by the cities in their lawsuit is, in fact “an important issue in the relationship between counties and cities.”

Drew McMahon with the County Attorney’s Office told county commissioners today that there is “a key issue” at stake, and that to suggest that the cities are being motivated by bad faith or poor motives is “unfair.”

“The cities have been criticized heavily…that they are out to get the [Inspector General]  and that they have something to hide. This is an important issue in the proper relationship between the county and the cities,” said McMahon.

Claudia McKenna, representing the cities, told county commissioners that the cities do not oppose the IG, have no objection to the IG’s ability to perform audits on the cities, and don’t oppose paying for the IG’s office. McKenna told the commission the only issue for the cities is whether it is legal for the county to send a separate bill to the cities, over and above county taxes, for the service.

The cities’ portion of funding for the IG’s operations is estimated to be $1.5 million dollars. McKenna said the cities have no problem paying the $1.5 million dollars.

“We are simply asking for you to give [the cities] another way to give you the $1.5 million dollars, instead of sending [the cities] a bill,” said McKenna. “The audit function is not an issue for the cities….Let’s find an alternative to get you the $1.5 million dollars.”

Even the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office admitted that the idea of sending a separate bill to the cities has never been done before.

“This county has never imposed a fee on the cities for a countywide program. It has never been done by this county. No other county that anyone has cited to the court in this litigation has ever imposed a fee to its cities,” said McMahon.

 
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