“Although a majority of the municipalities have paid for Steckler’s office, Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock announced last year that she would not use money collected from any of the county’s 38 cities and towns to fund the post until a judge weighs in on the suit.”
Watchdog asks court to intervene in payment suit
By Jennifer Sorentrue
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
West Palm Beach — Palm Beach County Inspector General Sheryl Steckler asked a judge Thursday to allow her to intervene in a lawsuit filed by 14 cities and towns over payments to her office, arguing the legal challenge threatens block her from doing her job and recruiting staffers.
The cities sued the county in November, challenging a requirement that each locality contribute to Steckler’s $3.3 million budget. Steckler was not named as a party to the suit. The county attorney’s office has been representing both the county and her office.
But in legal documents filed Thursday, Steckler argued that the county is not looking out for her best interests. As an independent office that relies on county funding, Steckler said, she had no option but to intervene in the case.
“It may not best serve the interests of justice to permit this matter to be litigated solely by parties who may not have the same desire as their citizens for oversight by the inspector general,” the suit said.
The inspector general post was created in 2009, as part of an ethics reform package to help the county shed its corruption-tainted image, after scandals sent three county commissioners to federal prison.