Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cook County Board Closed Session on April 9, 2013

The Cook County Board of Commissioners went into a closed session at its April 9, 2013 regularly scheduled board meeting.  This was done at the recommendation of the Board of Commissioner's Attorney, Dyan Ebert.  Below is the written text of Ms. Ebert's comments prior to the Board's vote to go into closed session.

"It is my recommendation that the Board go into closed session pursuant to Minnesota Statute section 13D.05, subdivision 3 (b) for attorney/client privileged communications.  The purpose of the closed session is to discuss the litigation that has been threatened against Cook County by Tim Scannell relating to the December 2011 shooting.  The discussion will not be for purposes of general legal advice.  The litigation has been threatened and appears imminent based on direct conversations that I, as well as some of the individual commissioners, and other County employees have had with Mr. Scannell and his attorney, Baiers Hereen. The lawsuit has also been threatened in a demand letter that was sent to me, at my request, to provide the County with specific details regarding the claim and the basis for the lawsuit.  It is my belief that a closed session is necessary so that I can consult with the Board in a private, confidential setting and it will also provide the Board with the opportunity to discuss the defense strategy and possible reconciliation or settlement options relating to the threatened lawsuit.  Having the discussion in open session would compromise the Board's ability to protect its rights and a confidential session is also necessary for me to effectively advocate on the Board/County's behalf.  The discussions in the closed session will be limited to strategy and settlement options relating to the threatened litigation."

The County Board is very aware of the complaint against Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell.  

The County Board is also aware that US Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger has been appointed by Judge Shaun Floerka to serve as a special prosecutor to review a MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed regarding Mr. Scannell's relationship with a teenage girl.

Pursuant to MN Statutes, the County Board has very limited authority over elected positions such as the County Attorney, but continues to monitor the situation closely and deal with the issues that come before the Board.

The County Board remains deeply concerned for the families involved, as well as the entire Cook County Community during this very difficult time.