It's uncertain what will come out of separate investigations by the Urban County Council and the state auditor into charges of fraud and retaliation in the handling of the city's insurance contract.
What is certain is that the city administration's resistance to providing documents to a council committee and to the media has created the impression that there really may be something to hide.
That's why it's a relief to hear that Mayor Jim Newberry would allow the information to be sent to the council committee.
Yet this decision also makes obvious that the information could have been more easily provided long before the mayor painted himself as a political victim and allowed key staffers to have hissy fits over council questioning.
The records are part of a survey by an external auditor which asked if city employees knew of any possible fraud. The council wants to know if the records include concerns about the city's 2007 decision to buy insurance from the Kentucky League of Cities, later exposed for excessive spending and conflicts of interest in its insurance arm.
Newberry, a KLC executive board member, was outspoken in his criticism of the taxpayer-funded non-profit after Herald-Leader news reports exposed the problems in 2009.
The council also wants to know if an employee's complaint about the contract led to retaliation from the administration.
Patrick Johnston, director of the city's risk-management division, raised concerns about the KLC contract in 2008 and 2009. His objections were ruled unfounded by external and city auditors. In his latest budget proposal, the mayor proposed firing Johnston as part of staff restructuring.
Is there something for citizens to worry about in terms of city finances or broader public policy?
The mayor says the city has actually saved money and gotten better service with KLC insurance.
But there are also questions about the bidding process: whether KLC was allowed to lower its bid to undercut the competition and whether information that would have hurt KLC's chances was withheld from the council.
The sooner we get to the bottom of this, the better. That requires more transparency and communication and a lot less pique from the administration.
This situation is eroding trust between the administration and council. Already, the head of the Internal Audit Board resigned this week, after many on the council voted to ask him to leave.
There is no indication that Dewitt Hisle has done anything wrong in leading the independent board of auditing professionals from the community. But his position as treasurer of Newberry's re-election campaign was definitely a conflict of interest in this situation.
This controversy is not as simple to follow as other news reports about public officials spending taxpayer money at strip clubs and for lavish dinners and concert tickets.
But it gets at how the city government actually conducts the public's business — those with the authority and those who are supposed to monitor them.
The scrutiny should be revealing.