OC Board Rejects Paying VSO Legal Bill
A resolution to pay the legal bills for Oneida county's Veteran's Service Officer was defeated Tuesday morning by the county board. The vote was seven in favor, 10 opposed.
8 charges were brought late last year against Tammy Walters by a county employee and county committees. After a 10 hour hearing in January, the board voted by a wide margin not to fire Walters. Later, it was determined she would not be given further discipline. But Walters incurred more than $9,000 in legal bills defending herself.
Supervisor Jack Sorenson said it was the fair thing to do...
".....we have expended tax dollars in defending other county employees and county supervisors in the past. In my opinion, it's appropriate..."
But county Corporation Counsel Brian Desmond said the resolution was not appropriate..
"...my legal research indicated to spend taxpayer dollars that doesn't serve a public purpose is abhorrent to the Constitution...."
Supervisor Tom Rudolph said the county will pay $7,100 to have an outside attorney who came to Walters hearing on behalf of the county. Rudolph said it wasn't fair...
"....the old saying goes, 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander'. They're both county employees. If you're going to pay the legal defense of one you should also be covering the defense of the other...."
Two veterans and Walters' mother rose to say the board was not fair to Walters, after finding no cause to dismiss her or discipline her, yet paying the bill for an outside attorney from Madison to work on behalf of the county. That bill was just over $7,100 as part of an insurance deductible.
Four supervisors were missing when the final vote was taken and the board voted against paying the bill.