On the discussion thread attached to the Special Council meeting blog post, I noted that Northfield City Administrator Al Roder’s attorney, David Lillehaug, has billed $15,768 for fees thus far on the ‘Goodhue matter.’
I wondered how much per hour Lillehaug was charging and what it was he was doing since the Goodhue County investigators had not even talked to Roder yet, according to this June 27 Nfld News story:
Roder’s attorney, David Lillehaug, said Friday that his client has been cooperating with Goodhue investigators for some time and from his review of the facts, Roder has done nothing wrong. Roder has maintained he hasn’t been in contact with investigators.
So I filed a data request earlier this week requesting “itemized invoices of legal work performed by David Lillehaug for Al Roder and reimbursed/paid for by the city.”
I got 30 pages back today (for which I had to pay photocopy expenses of $7.50) but alas, City Attorney Maren Swanson redacted all details regarding what Lillehaug was invoicing for. Under Minn. Stat. 13.43, “personnel data” means, in part, data on individuals collected because the individual is an employee of the city…”
See my photos of the correspondence and some examples of the invoices, one of which I’ve drawn red arrows to indicate where the redactions occurred.
Are Swanson’s arguments for the redactions legit? What could Lillehaug have done for 35 hours if Roder’s not even been interviewed yet?
I’m not sure what to make of all this. It’s easy to be outraged because it’s taxpayer dollars flying out the door and we’re being kept in the dark. But maybe conversation will help illuminate things a bit.
Update 7/18, 9:20 am:
Dave DeLong also requested this information and this morning, he handed me a copy of a related memo (dated July 7) from City Finance Director Kathleen McBride in which she explains how it happened that she paid the $2,068 beyond the authorized $7,500.
The statement was processed for payment by city staff and I attached the supporting invoices (being held) and approved payment — in error. I apologize for my oversight. The previous invoices were routed through Maren Swanson and forwarded to me for payment processing.
So now we know how it happened, but of course the question remains: who was the ‘city staff’ who processed the payment?