An outside mediator will charge the city of Warner Robins more than $12,000 to investigate complaints against the police department, and city attorney Jim Elliott says he'll pay more than $500 of that out of his own pocket.
In a letter to council members, Elliott writes that the city's share of the bill will exceed the amount that Mayor Chuck Shaheen can spend on his own.
Elliott wrote that he takes responsibility for the mistake, so he plans to pay the excess amount -- $537.50.
"In my mind, a $500 mistake is one I am willing to accept for a city that has given much to my family and me...." Elliott wrote the council in the letter dated Wednesday.
This spring, Elliott and Shaheen hired Jennifer Keaton of OneMediation in Atlanta to investigate police Sgt. Julius Wilcox's harassment complaint against Chief Brett Evans.
Keaton charged the city $250 an hour or up to $1,250 a day.
City council members criticized the hiring, saying the cost was likely to exceed the amount that city ordinance says Shaheen can approve on his own: $2,500.
In his letter, Elliott reported Keaton's estimated bill: $12,150. He said she worked on the Wilcox complaint for five full days and parts of 20 others.
When the investigation started, he said, "no one -- myself or Ms. Keaton -- believed that the investigation would take more than a couple of days."
He told the council that the city's insurer will pay 75 percent of the bill -- $9,112.50.
Shaheen himself can authorize no more than $2,500.
And that leaves $537.50, the amount Elliott plans to pay.
Elliott wrote that he took responsibility for assuming that council would agree to pay the rest of the bill and for failing to get a better cost estimate before Keaton was hired.
"My intention is solely an attempt to help bring to an end to what has become a contentious matter in hopes for more fruitful and productive days ahead," he wrote.
Keaton's report rejected most of Sgt. Wilcox's complaints against Chief Evans. But she wrote that Evans violated city rules by publicly taking sides in last year's mayoral election.