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Metro Newsroom

Metro Council approves cap on attorney fees for ethics cases against a Metro Office

Thursday December 19, 2013

For Immediate Release:
Louisville Metro Council
Contact: Tony Hyatt 574-4137 / 526-3622

Louisville – The Metro Council has approved an ordinance sponsored by Councilman David Yates (D-25) that caps the amount of money that can be paid for legal representation during an administrative hearing of a Metro Officer before the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission.

“While we want to ensure due process for everyone, we must also be mindful of spending our citizen’s money during these cases,” said Yates. “I believe this ordinance allows for a reasonable amount of compensation during these kinds of proceedings but protects against waste and abuse.”

The ordinance caps the fee at $25,000 for any independent legal counsel for a Metro officer in an ethics proceeding. The same amount is set aside for any legal counsel for a complainant in such a case.

The need for the ordinance arose following two ethics hearings in the last two years. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on the prosecution and defense fees in those cases.

Under the Metro Code of Ordinances, legal representation will only be paid by Metro Government if the Ethics Commission moves forward with a complaint. Outside of that process, Metro Officers must pay for their own legal representation.

Councilman Yates was also the primary sponsor of a bi-partisan resolution recently passed by the Metro Council requesting the Kentucky General Assembly to amend state law that would grant administrative subpoena power to the Ethics Commission. Additionally, that resolution calls for clearer definitions of misconduct and asks that if an elected official is found guilty of misconduct, they shall be removed from office thereby removing any discretion from the Metro Council.

Joining Yates as sponsors of that resolution were Council members Jerry Miller (R-19), Robin Engel (R-22) and Council President Jim King (D-10).

David Yates (D) 25