Carmel continued to pay former city attorney as contractor after resignation, during investigation


The City of Carmel continued paying former City Attorney Doug Haney on a contract basis following his December 2020 resignation, even as the Carmel City Council conducHanted an investigation into the city’s handling of events surrounding his departure.

The contract, dated Jan. 8, lists Haney’s duties as providing legal and consulting services as the law department transitions to new leadership, researching legal issues, drafting ordinances and resolutions and handling litigation involving the city.

Several sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed Haney’s departure was prompted by a harassment complaint filed against him by another employee of the law department. The city and employee have reached a settlement, which is to be paid through the city’s insurance.

City officials declined to comment on Haney’s resignation and the settlement, citing it as a personnel issue.

In January, Haney signed a contract with the city to provide legal consulting services at a rate of $450 per hour. On Feb. 18, the city notified Haney that the contract would be terminated on March 20. The city has paid Haney $3,870 in legal fees since his resignation.

“This contract was only for a few weeks to handle the transition of ongoing legal cases,” stated Dan McFeely, a spokesperson for the City of Carmel.

According to Indiana Gateway, a data portal for government units, in 2020 Haney’s was paid $204,032.88. That equates to approximately $3,900 per week, or roughly $98 per hour for a 40-hour work week.

McFeely said the $450 per hour rate in the 2021 contract is in line with rates typically paid to outside counsel.

“These are market outside firm rates. A private firm lawyer has costs for office space, secretarial support, insurance, supplies etc. which inside counsel (such as a city attorney) doesn’t have to pay,” McFeely stated.

The Carmel City Council in 2020 launched an investigation of the city’s handling of the harassment complaint. The investigation is ongoing, but Carmel City Council President Sue Finkam said the council is working to identify steps to improve the process for employees to file complaints and for the city to handle them.

“We want to make sure our employees are supported and feel safe whenever they file a complaint,” Finkam said.