Council Moves Ahead With Questioning Themselves

Troy city council member Ethan Baker

by CYNTHIA KMETT

Apparently some members of Troy City Council don’t believe that the FBI or the Plante-Moran Forensic Audit Team knew the right questions to ask members of Troy City Council regarding their interactions with the former city manager, Brian Kischnick, who is now in federal prison.

After several debates, councilmembers Ethan Baker and Ellen Hodorek at a recent council meeting offered a resolution to retain Plante Moran for the purpose of conducting a City Council Investigation, “which is designed to guard against any future culture of complicity,” according to the resolution.

Plante Moran will charge a blended hourly rate of $275 to conduct interviews of all current City Council members. The resolution also notes that since Plante Moran has already completed interviews of city employees, it is not anticipated that they will need to interview any more employees, contractors, or vendors as part of this engagement.

The resolution directs Plante Moran to investigate knowledge of former City Manager Brian Kischnick’s acceptance of bribery money, acceptance of a free driveway, and acceptance of free housing at Somerset from June 2016 to October 2018.

It also encourages the investigation to explore potential knowledge of any free or discounted services or goods from a contractor doing business with the city. This includes free food paid for by contractors.

Council wants to know of any intimidation of others to comply with illegal demands on behalf of Kischnick, and whether anyone knew of any other wrongdoing or relationship with city employees or former employees.

This investigation will be done by Plante-Moran for $275 per hour. The city’s usual personnel attorney wanted $200 per hour but Baker noted that Plante Moran seemed a better choice because they have already interviewed 16 employees and those employees had indicated to the city they did not want to do it again, and they certainly did not want to be taped.

The cost of yet another look at this situation and the cost of an estimated $30,000 was a hang-up for Councilman Ed Pennington and Mayor Dane Slater.

As for Henderson – who with Hodorek had been interviewed by the FBI already – he wanted the interview on tape. Those three councilmembers would vote no on the resolution, but it passed 4- 3. But don’t expect anything until after the November 6 election.