By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand was ordered Wednesday to pay $900 in court and legal fees related to contempt-of-court hearings and acceptance of a federal grant.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen MacDonald ruled last week that a $650 fee for city attorney John Barr and a $250 court fine were Lamarand’s responsibility and not the city’s. Lamarand was given 30 days to pay the attorney fee and 10 days to settle with Wayne County Circuit Court.
MacDonald did not, however, find Lamarand responsible for the full $11,000 bill submitted by Barr, who was directed by city council to seek legal actions that would force Lamarand to accept a federal grant.
The legal costs were incurred during an Aug 10 hearing that found Lamarand in contempt of court for failure to accept a Federal Emergency Management Administration grant of $8.1 million as ordered by the court in June. Lamarand did not comply with the court order, maintaining that the grant would be too costly to the city and that the federal funds did not cover pensions, benefits or other costs that the cash-strapped city could not afford.
The grant was accepted later that month after concessions were made by Taylor Fire Fighters Union Local 1252 that compensated for an estimated $1.2 million in costs not covered by the grant. The agreement between the city and fire union allowed the grant to be accepted and likely spared Lamarand jail time for contempt of court charges.
Since then, 32 firefighters returned to duty who were laid off last year — along with other city employees — due to budget shortfalls.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)