Now that Mayor Ashton Hayward is individually named a defendant in the lawsuit brought by former Fire Chief Matt Schmitt, the City -both Mayor and City Council- will be breaking new ground.
Should Ashton Hayward separate himself from the City’s defense and hire his own legal representation to avoid any conflict of interest. His interest and that of the taxpayers may not be the same.
Must he have Council approval for any further decisions regarding the case?
Can the mayor alone make the decision to appeal Judge Vinson’s ruling? Possibly if he pays for the appeal. After all, it involves his personal standing.
Who negotiates the settlement? Hayward might have a conflict because the settlement could possibly place the majority of the payout on the backs of the taxpayers, not him.
If the mayor pursues the appeal without Council input as he has done in other lawsuits, will anyone on the Council challenge the decision?
The same goes for any settlement offers.
What a mess.