Palm Beach County and cities spar over Inspector General at appeals court


Appeals judges hear arguments Tuesday in Inspector General lawsuit

Appeals judges hear arguments Tuesday in Inspector General lawsuit

Palm Beach County municipal governments are all for the Office of Inspector General, but didn’t expect their coffers would have to pay for it, their attorneys said Tuesday in oral arguments before the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

County lawyers responded that when voters approved the office, they empowered county government to send cities the bill.

The court is considering appeals by cities in a 2011 lawsuit who have argued it’s illegal for Palm Beach County to create the office of Inspector General and force them to pay for it. A judge tossed the cities’ suit in March 2015, but the cities appealed.

In 2010, following a rash of scandals that left the area with the nickname “Corruption County,” voters in each of the county’s cities overwhelmingly approved creation of the office, which provides oversight to local governments covering 13,000 employees and $7.5 billion in combined budgets.

The amount the cities have been assessed since the Inspector General started in 2010, including what they were billed for the budget year that started Oct. 1, is up to $4.9 million, according to figures provided by the county’s budget office to The Palm Beach Post.

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