No Hamilton County commissioners objected Wednesday to giving the county’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority two more weeks to provide documents requested about two months ago.
“I’m willing to give them two weeks and see what they hand to us,” said Commissioner John Allen Brooks.
But Mr. Brooks and other commissioners questioned the authority’s operating methods.
“They shouldn’t have quibbled,” Mr. Brooks said. “They should have provided it for us.”
Last month, the commission voted to give the authority 10 days to hand over the legal bills of attorney John Anderson or else the commission would take the authority to court. On Wednesday, County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said he would hold off on filing a lawsuit.
Mr. Brooks, an attorney, challenged authority board Chairman Henry Hoss’ contention that legal bills with line-by-line descriptions and costs were not available electronically.
Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority Chairman Henry Hoss has said the authority will provide detailed legal bills to the County Commission in two to three weeks.
“Every bill I’ve ever turned out is on a computer, and I could have it today,” Mr. Brooks said.
Mr. Hoss said the law firm of authority attorney John Anderson would have to assemble the billing statements manually, a process which would take two to three weeks. He said the ability to produce the bills electronically has been lost.
Commissioner Greg Beck wondered what may have prompted Mr. Anderson to resign as attorney for the city of East Ridge, as Commissioner Curtis Adams has reported.
“I’m inclined to think that, if everything is on the up and up, why should anybody have to resign?” Commissioner Beck asked.
But it still is not entirely clear whether Mr. Anderson will resign from that post.
Mr. Anderson could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and Mr. Hoss would not confirm that Mr. Anderson has resigned, though he did say the authority has asked its attorney to end any perceived conflicts of interest.
“We want the perception, regardless whether it is (a conflict) or not, to go away,” Mr. Hoss said.
East Ridge Mayor Mike Steele said city officials knew from the beginning that Mr. Anderson was the authority’s attorney.
“He is our attorney of record and will remain our attorney of record until he indicates otherwise,” Mr. Steele said.
Other commissioners’ comments led Commissioner Richard Casavant to step in and warn against “attacking personalities.”
Dr. Casavant said commissioners should focus on bringing sewers to the county instead of going after the authority’s managers or process issues.
“We’re really not talking about the problem here,” he said.