Westfield council expects to vote on $1 million in appropriations for legal fees at December meeting

Andy Cook
Mayor Andy Cook

Westfield City Council members are still waiting on an accurate number for administrative and clerk-treasurer legal fees so it can appropriate funds to cover mounting expenses for the litigation between Mayor Andy Cook and Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Gossard.

The litigation began earlier this year when the city sued Gossard, claiming she had unauthorized access to data. Several lawsuits and accusations followed, the most recent of which included Gossard accusing the city of installing “spyware” on her and her staff’s computers.

CIW COM 0226 Gossard

An appropriation for just more than $1 million was introduced at the council’s Nov. 22 meeting. The figure was almost $400,000 more than the $668,000 that was first introduced at the Oct. 11 meeting. The council tabled voting on the appropriation during the October meeting. The new $1 million figure is spread across three funds: administrative attorney fund, administrative consulting fund and a clerk-treasurer legal fund.

Since the Oct. 11 meeting, the administrative attorney fees are now $430,941, the administrative consulting fees are $414,616 and the clerk-treasurer fees are $155,000.

Council President Mike Johns said the council wants to see the final legal fee numbers and what invoices still need to be paid.

City of Westfield Director of Enterprise John Rogers said he worked with Gossard to come up with the revised numbers presented at the Nov. 22 meeting. However, some councilors are still unsatisfied with the information.

Council member Troy Patton said he sent an email request for legal fee billing and the associated dates several weeks ago but hasn’t received a response.

“Until I get that, I will not be voting for this,” Patton said.

Johns asked Rogers to provide the council with the following items no later than Dec. 10: A list of all invoices paid year to date for the three funds with the date they were paid; a list of all invoices received for the three funds that had not yet paid; a list of anticipated invoices for the three funds through the end of the year; and a total for each fund reduced by the total amount originally budgeted for 2021.

The council is expected to vote on the appropriation at its Dec. 13 meeting. For more, visit westfield.in.gov.