Requests for counsel are unnecessary
I have been involved in doing research of public records for many years, but prior to 2013 my interest was in genealogy and family history. This year it has turned to the examination of public records pertaining to local elected officials and public meeting records.
I have spoken at two public meetings about my concern over the unnecessary requests for legal services performed by county attorney, Mr. John Brooke. The money given to the commissioners for the county attorney is their responsibility to manage. They are also the ones who are supposed to manage the money in the “wind energy expense” budget. An examination of the invoices Mr. Brooke sends to the county shows even private citizens are calling Mr. Brooke with questions or issues related to “wind,” and charges for these calls are billed to the county.
I asked a former commissioner if this was typical and was told this practice of “anyone and everyone for whatever reason being allowed to call the county attorney” never happened prior to 2013.
From 2009 to 2012, when Mr. John Brooke served as the county’s attorney, the four-year average paid to him from budgets managed by the commissioners was less than $20,000.
In 2013, with still three months to go in the year, his invoices total more than $30,000 paid from the two budgets the commissioners oversee for legal services.
In my exploration of campaign finance reports of candidates running for commissioner over the last four years, I found the current county attorney never made contributions to any candidate prior to 2012. Attorney John Brooke is a registered Democrat and served as a Delaware County commissioner from 2005 to 2008. He was hired by Tipton County in 2009. He did not contribute to local fellow Democrat Commissioner Ken Ziegler’s campaign when he was running for re-election in 2010. In 2012, however, he was one of the three people listed as giving money to Republican Mike Cline’s re-election campaign. The other two contributors hold leases with wind energy companies.