In a 28-page ruling issued Monday, Judge John Foster invalidated a series of measures that the commissioners had passed giving them authority to review contracts. Hackel, who sued the commissioners Feb. 29 over the issue, argued that the commissioners were overstepping their authority.
Among other things, Foster ruled that “the power to make expenditures following an appropriation is an executive function which is properly exercised by the County Executive.”
Hackel said the ruling should clarify the roles of the executive’s office and commissioners as envisioned by the voter-approved charter.
“I think it’s going to finally get them to understand the relationship. They do not run county government,” Hackel said of the commissioners.
He said that commissioners should “just allow me to do my job according to the charter.”
Commissioners Chair Kathy Vosburg said she would have no comment on the ruling until after she is able to speak to the board’s attorney.
Hackel was asked what might happen if commissioners appeal Foster’s ruling.
“I would hope they wouldn’t want to waste more taxpayer money by doing that,” he said.
Foster also ruled that the county must pay for Hackel’s legal expenses.