Last Tuesday City Commissioner Rick Tormala used his position on the Fiscal Committee to block a $7,500 settlement that Assistant City Attorney Margaret Bloemers had negotiated to resolve a personal injury claim brought by a Kentwood man arrested by the Grand Rapids police a few years ago. The man, Raymond Gallagher, complained the police hurt his wrists when they handcuffed him. However, there is no dispute that the police acted properly or that Gallagher was permanently injured.
Tormala is right to take the City's attorneys to task for their gutlessness in settling cases that have little going for them other than a feared (and not necessarily real) emotional appeal to a jury. After all, it's the taxpayers' money being thrown down the drain when City attorneys run away from a jury when the law is on the City's side.
Then again, why is Tormala silent when a City attorney makes common cause with malefactors, such at the Toxic Towers polluters, in a personal vendetta, destroying incriminating public records, filing false statements with courts, racking up big costs for the City, and leaving the taxpayers exposed to potentially billions of dollars in fines once a jury sees videotape evidence of the very acts the City Attorney's office is denying happened?
Why the silence about such folly? Oh, that's right. Because the City Attorney's Office ordered Tormala and his fellow commissioners to say nothing.* So who's really working for whom at City Hall?
* Both Mayor Heartwell and Commissioner Tormala informed me last year that all of the elected officials in the City government were prohibited from discussing the Toxic Towers case upon the orders of the City Attorney's office.