Mayor: Purchasing probe needed

The city's procurement policy states, "The purchasing agent shall make all purchases made for public use. The city will not be liable for any purchase made otherwise."

Franck said that is what is at the heart of his inquiry.

"Even if it didn't advocate charter reform, I'd still ask for an informal decision," said Franck, noting an informal decision from the comptroller's office carries a lot of weight with municipalities. "Even if it advocated the other side of the issue, I'd still be asking for this because the purchasing policy was not followed."

Commission chairwoman Beth Hershenhart said she personally paid for the mailing's postage cost, estimated at over $5,000. She said the mailing wouldn't have reached voters in time if the commission waited for City Hall to approve the cost. She has not been reimbursed and Franck has been adamant in denying the approval of the payment.

Keehn said she disagrees with Franck's assertion that the mailer is propaganda. "This was an educational piece," she said. "They (the Charter Review Commission) were under the gun as far as getting the printing done."

But Franck noted that detractors of the commission's efforts have long said that the review commission's job was rushed in order to put a referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot.

"You can't have it both ways," he said. "It was either a rush job or it wasn't a rush job."

Some residents, as well as Keehn herself, have questioned Franck's efforts regarding the mailer inquiry, saying they are perhaps too zealous for what the situation calls for.

"I think less time should be spent talking to generals and more time should be spent on our assessments," said resident John Krauss.

"In this town, there is one thing you don't want to be known for, and that is beating a dead horse," said Krauss to Franck at the council meeting.

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