The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

October 8, 2013

Mayor Vulich takes the stand during Walker trial


DAVENPORT — By Sept. 28, the settlement had already been unanimously approved by the council and finalized, but council members still discussed it, specifically the city's budgeting practice regarding ambulance billings.

One council member, who was not named, said he or she believed that when former fire Chief Mark Regenwether was appointed to his position, he had input into the city's ambulance coding procedures, which determined how ambulance runs were billed.  

"We've got to get some more cash to the department," the unidentified council member said, paraphrasing Regenwether. "I think he had pushed it, too."  

Another unidentified council member recalled officials from the fire department were told if they wanted newer equipment, it would need to bill at the ALS rate, according to the closed session minutes read today.   

While the fire department employees coded the calls, it was the finance department who submitted the bills. It became apparent through the case review that the finance department was not properly trained to code billing and the finance department should have reviewed the bills rather than act as it was as a data entry point, Pillers said during the closed session.

However, the "damning thing" one council member noted was that even if the bills had been reviewed, the city was budgeting for all ALS, which would likely have meant the finance clerk still would not have caught any errors.  

Walker testified today that the budget being set for 100 percent ALS bills showed the council was in a "knowing situation" regarding the overbilling, which would have hindered the city's ability to claim it was an honest mistake.  

Walker's testimony concluded Monday.

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