Hamilton County Commissioner Curtis Adams said the people of East Ridge have a right to attorney John Anderson's detailed billings, and he plans to help them get it.
Mr. Adams said he has received a petition with 88 signatures from East Ridge citizens asking him to inquire into the charges from Mr. Anderson, who represents the city.
To date, the city has denied citizens' requests for information about the "general" item on Mr. Anderson's billings, claiming "attorney-client privilege."
Having successfully overcome that explanation on the county level by getting copies of Mr. Anderson's billings to the Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, which he also represents, the city should open its records, Mr. Adams said.
"They told us that at the Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, but we got it all," he said. "There is nothing confidential when you're spending government money."
Mr. Adams said he has spoken to newly hired East Ridge City Manager William Whitson about the issue and plans to begin the process by filing an open records request.
"I hate to give East Ridge any additional problems right now because they're trying to get situated with him (Mr. Whitson)," Mr. Adams said. "I thought I would wait a little while and then make a formal request for it."
Mr. Whitson said he has not had enough time to review the issue, but he said the city was prepared to share any information the public is allowed to see. He did not offer any details about what specific information would be protected under "attorney-client privilege."
"As long as we don't compromise attorney-client privilege, we're an open book," he said.