After some back and forth at its Sept. 11 meeting, the Board of Trustees decided to table paying a $3,561.25 legal bill until it can review appropriate documents.

After some back and forth at its Sept. 11 meeting, the Board of Trustees decided to table paying a $3,561.25 legal bill until it can review appropriate documents.

File photo by Sarah Purlee


Macomb Township Board of Trustees tables paying legal bill

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 16, 2019

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — A request to discuss and vote on a legal bill sparked a lively debate at a recent township meeting.

After plenty of back and forth at its Sept. 11 meeting, the Board of Trustees decided to table paying a legal bill until it can review appropriate documents.

During the approval of the bills, Trustee Tim Bussineau requested a bill from a Clinton Township law office be discussed and voted on separately.

The vendor is the law office of Kirk, Huth, Lange & Badalamenti. The invoice is listed as July professional services in the amount of $3,561.25.

Treasurer Karen Goodhue made a motion to approve the bills, excluding the one named by Bussineau. That motion was approved.

When the item was brought up later in the meeting, Bussineau said Goodhue’s motion was different than his motion to pull it and discuss it.

“Ms. Goodhue said to pay the bills absent of the bill I mentioned, so I’m not sure we have to discuss it at this point,” Bussineau said.

Macomb Township General Counsel and Human Resources Director Tom Esordi indicated the item was on the agenda, to which Bussineau said it wasn’t.

Bussineau’s argument was that Goodhue’s motion didn’t say the board would further discuss it.

Esordi clarified that the motion was to pay all the bills, except the bill pulled by Bussineau from the agenda.

Bussineau said the board could re-present the legal bill at the next meeting to discuss it.

Esordi said he wasn’t aware of a motion to remove the bill from the agenda.

Goodhue believed the bill would be discussed at the Sept. 11 meeting.

Trustee Roger Krzeminski said he took Goodhue’s motion to mean the bill would be talked about at the meeting.

Bussineau said he would’ve loved if his motion was supported, which it wasn’t.   

“My motion was to vote for the bills and discuss it,” Bussineau said. “Nobody supported that.”

Bussineau said his issue was that there was no mention of the board discussing the bill in Goodhue’s motion.

Krzeminski asked Bussineau why the board couldn’t discuss it at the present meeting.

Clerk Kristi Pozzi said typically when an item is removed in a motion, it is placed back on the agenda as a numbered item.

“That didn’t transpire for whatever reason,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s in our best interest to wait and look at it in the following meeting.”

Trustee Nancy Nevers, like Krzeminski, said she believed the bill was going to be discussed at the meeting.

After almost seven minutes of back-and-forth, a motion was made by Goodhue to discuss the bill that was pulled.

Bussineau said he was told that an itemized invoice for the legal bill didn’t exist, and learned the law firm stated the itemized bill was attorney-client privilege.

He questioned if attorney-client privilege needed to be invoked to pay the bill.

Esordi cautioned the board that it can’t invoke attorney-client privilege.

“Privilege either exists, or it doesn’t,” he said. “A vote of this board to invoke it would make no sense.”

The client in this case is the board.

Bussineau amended his motion, suggesting to table paying the bill until the board can review documents.

It likely will be further discussed at the board’s Sept. 25 meeting.

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