It seemed absurd that a committee of the Urban County Council needed to hire a lawyer to get documents from the Urban County Government.
But, lo and behold, the council may have to fight all the way to the courts to get said documents.
We understand important legal principles are in play, primarily the need to assure confidentiality to government employees who are reporting suspected fraud. Without this assurance, employees would be afraid to report their suspicions, and it would become that much harder to have an honest government.
In the case at hand, however, the cat is so far out of the bag that trying to stuff it back in is pointless and insulting to taxpayers.
At issue are auditors' questionnaires filled out by the city's director of risk management in 2008 and 2009 raising concerns about the city's decision to shift its insurance buying to the Kentucky League of Cities. The League was subsequently revealed to have been rife with misspending and conflicts of interest.
The city's internal auditor is refusing to release the forms, saying they belong to the outside auditing firm and that he could be sued for releasing them.
The risk management director, Patrick Johnston, is understandably afraid of being sued or fired if he releases them; the Newberry administration has already tried to eliminate his job.
Part of what the council is trying to discover is if there's a link between the recommendation to eliminate Johnston's job and his complaints about insurance purchasing.
You don't need a lawyer to know that the longer it takes for all this to come out into the open, the worse it looks.