Common Council leaders react to city's settlement with DePaepe - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Common Council leaders react to city's settlement with DePaepe

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Monday, the city settled a lawsuit filed by the former Director of Communications for the South Bend Police Department. The lawsuit has to do with DePaepe's firing over the recording of phone calls within the police department. It led to an effort to find out exactly what was on those tapes.

The Common Council attempted to use its subpoena power to get the tapes, but were denied by the Mayor's office, saying the recording of phone calls violated a federal law, and therefore trumps the Council's subpoena power. Whether that is in fact true, is a question that's being left to a federal judge now.

"We have a duty-bound office that we have to take serious in terms of our subpoena rights, so when another branch of government says that we don't have these rights, we have to go before the courts to find out whether or not we do," says Common Council President, Oliver Davis.

In the court case, the Mayor's office says the briefing is complete and they're just waiting for an answer.

In the meantime, Common Council leaders say they'll stay on task with what they voted for: to find out what was on the recordings. "There's been a lot of taxpayer money paid out on whoever you want to blame for this but it's probably close to a million dollars," says Council Vice President, Derek Dieter. That's part of the reason why council leaders believe it's important for taxpayers to know what is on the tapes. Davis says, "It's important for them I believe because we're dealing with city employees and people need to know what we talk about on city lines."

Once a judge does decide, Mayor Pete Buttigieg says the administration will fall in line. "When we get a decision from federal court, we're going to act in accordance with what the federal court tells us. We will listen and act on those tapes only if we learn there is a lawful way to do so," says Buttigieg.

So the saga continues, but Davis says Monday's settlement is another step in the process to bring the situation to a close.

Dieter says the Council will meet in an executive session in early March to get an update on the case.

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