This should come as a relief for some of the city’s residents who were concerned that the tenure of the monitor, as well as a scope of duties, were not fully defined.
The court reasoned that “all eyes are on the City,” and accordingly, a monitor may be ineffective and costly to the already financially-strapped City. The court was also not convinced that the City prevented the Attorney General in any way from accessing information requested by the Attorney General for its lawsuit.
Despite the City Council’s willingness to concede to a monitor, in the interest of promoting open and transparent governance, the City was also not convinced that the Attorney General had the power to request a monitor and that a monitor would be an effective mechanism to oversee the City. The City also requested limitations on the monitor. For example, the City argued that the monitor concept may put the City at risk by permitting certain individuals who are responsible for Bell’s problems to intrude into the statutorily and judicially protected attorney-client privilege.
“The City has been, and will continue to be, cooperative and open with the Attorney General and all other investigatory agencies and, most importantly, residents of Bell,” said Jamie Casso, Interim City Attorney. “The Attorney General did not set forth sufficient facts and evidence to show that the City has failed to be fully transparent to the City Council, the public, and the City’s police department. In contrast, the City has gone to great lengths, at considerable expense, to be open and transparent to the public and the numerous agencies investigating the City’s past practices. The new Administration is scrupulously, carefully and thoroughly carrying out the most basic functions of an open and transparent government.”
The city will continue to be run by interim officials and those under indictment until the Recall election, scheduled for March, can be held.