In the Gazette opinion of Jan. 2, 2019, the editorial board bashes Billings for wasting tax dollars and losing public trust when it comes to releasing information and using outside lawyers. In reality, the problem is the city's attitude in all legal matters.
The city has numerous ongoing cases. The city is being sued for not paying police longevity pay according to the union contract. After the first day of a hearing the trial was adjourned for further discovery resuming on Nov. 12, 2014, the parties (including the city) advised the court that they had reached agreement in principal. Today there has been two opposite district court decisions rendered and each appealed.The city has paid over $95,000 to hire an accounting firm to compute the dollar amount the city owes each officer, yet there still is no settlement.
There is also the Good Stuff case where the city claimed the defendant was storing junk. This went to court, and the court ruled the items in question were merchandise not junk, yet the city still spends tens of thousands of dollars on the case. Why?
Then there are two businesses that suddenly the city decided they would no longer sell business licenses to. The city sold those licenses year after year, and the businesses grew — now they are to just go away? This is nothing but a government taking of a business.
Again, the city is paying outside lawyers tens of thousands of dollars trying to defend their actions. Billings would rather waste thousands of dollars on outside lawyers rather than provide public safety, plain and simple!