It's an issue centered on a vaguely written ordinance that allows the mayor $300 in expenses every month. Now city council has voted to bring in an outside law firm to help decipher the language in the ordinance. Aldermen will use money they've set aside in a special fund.
City leaders are split on whether the expense pay is a stipend or an allotment. It's a $25,000 question. If it's a stipend, then the city owes Mayor Larry Morrissey the money, back tracked to 2005. If it's an allotment then the mayor wouldn't be entitled to retroactive pay.
Rockford 10th ward Alderman Frank Beach said "there was a memo sent out by the mayor to the aldermen stating that if something wasn't brought in by last Monday night to recommend another legal counsel, then he was going to move forward with his own."
Mayor Larry Morrissey explained "let's be fair the ordinance has been on the books for a long time. I've incurred expenses that'd I've eaten over the years. Significant ones and if the funds available I think it's only prudent we get an opinion on it and move forward."
On a 12-to-2 vote, aldermen approved hiring an outside firm to give its opinion on the expense question. There was debate over whether Law Firm Klein, Thorp, Jenkins has ever worked with the city before. In the end the measure passed.