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Thank you for your patience
I'm not sure what I missed, but I did get to see part of a thoughtful presentation by Councilor Angela Mansfield. I also saw councilor Brian Mahern point out - quite correctly - than Ryan Vaughn had no business running the meeting while being a major advocate for the ACS contract that was being debated. Vaughn gave a rambling, nonsensical answer to why he didn't have a conflict of interest even though his employer- Barnes & Thornburg - lobbies for ACS. (Apparently Vaughn thinks the closeness of a vote impacts on whether one has a conflict.) Vaughn's boss, B& T Partner Joe Loftus (who lobbies for the City and for ACS) was sitting in the front of the room according to spectators and quickly was on the phone after the vote. Not sure if he was wearing his ACS or City hat.
In Vaughn's defense, his employer, Barnes & Thornburg, has never met a conflict of interest the firm couldn't ignore. The firm is constantly playing both sides of the fence in violation of ethics rules, a situation the rest of the legal community has complained about for years. Most recently, B&T was awarded a $5.25 million contract to represent FSSA in a suit against IBM over the bungled Medicaid privatization deal. IBM's partner on the deal was ACS, which is represented by B&T. B&T even acknowledges in its engagement contract with the FSSA that it might have to sue ACS, which is still the firm's client. (That is a conflict that is nonwaivable under the disciplinary rules.) Certainly ACS does not have a lot to worry about B&T going after it. The last thing B&T is going to do is lose ACS as a client because of an ethical responsibility to zealously represent a client FSSA and we taxpayers.
But I digress. What I found most interesting was Republican Councilor Bob Lutz's comments. Bob is an attorney and in fact was at one time the Wayne Township Small Claims Court judge. Most Republicans Councilors are quiet rubber-stamps for the administration's policies of raising taxes/fees and handing lucrative contracts out to politically-connected contractors. Lutz, on the other hand, is always in committee meetings and in full council pontificating at length about his supposed concerns about administration measures. In the end though, Lutz always pulls out his rubber stamp like everyone else.
Many people though have been persuaded by Lutz's comments, thinking he may ultimately vote against an administration measure because of the concerns he has expressed. I'm not the least bit fooled. I know that Lutz's performance is nothing more than act, trying to give the appearance of thoughtful consideration, while knowing his conclusion is always going to be that the administration is right. In reality, Lutz is no less of a rubber stamp on the council than a Susie Day or Angel Rivera. He's just a smarter rubber stamp.
Lutz's act though on Monday went too far. Lutz claimed the City could borrow money to pay off the ACS termination fee. That is a bald-faced lie. Minutes later Monroe Gray, who is not a lawyer, contradicted Lutz pointing out that the contract expressly forbids the City from borrowing the money to pay the termination fee. Gray is absolutely correct. Here's the language from Section 18.2 of the contract: "The City shall not ... obtain capital from any third party in order to fund the payment of the Termination Penalty..." It was outlined in a blog article I wrote in which I did a legal analysis of the termination provision, an analysis by the way that was directly emailed to all councilors including Mr. Bob Lutz.
Lutz as an attorney, indeed as a former judge, is cloaked with a certain authority when he speaks on legal issues. Other Republican councilors undoubtedly depend on his legal guidance. Lutz though chose to lie when he said the City could borrow to pay the termination fee. Lutz lied not only to his fellow councilors, but he lied to his constituents and the public, right there on Channel 16.
Councilor Bob Lutz abused his position as an attorney and councilor to lie to help push through a 50 year sweetheart deal for a politically-connected contractor. If Lutz cannot tell the truth, he needs to resign from the Council. After Monday, he certainly has no moral authority left to represent his constituents.