Elk Grove Hires Consultant to Investigate Allegations of Unprofessional Conduct by City Manager, Attorney

Hume says city council has confidence in Gill, Cochran; Gill to hire human resources consultant to conduct confidential interviews Ed. note:...

Hume says city council has confidence in Gill, Cochran; Gill to hire human resources consultant to conduct confidential interviews

Ed. note: This story is being posted while the city council meeting is still in progress. City manager Laura Gill and city attorney Susan Cochran were not available for comment but have been invited via e-mail to comment. This will be updated pending responses from Gill and Cochran.

Emerging after a two-and-a-half hour closed session meeting tonight, Mayor Pat Hume said the Elk Grove City Council had not taken any reportable actions, but had addressed city employee concerns regarding allegations of unprofessional conduct by city manager Laura Gill and city attorney Susan Cochran.

The action was taken as a result of numerous e-mails and comments forwarded to the city council seeking an internal investigation of the allegations. Two weeks ago a letter from an anonymous city employee accused Gill and Cochran of unprofessional conduct.

"We have taken to heart some of the things that have been happening out in the blogosphere and some of the comment, letters we have received regarding the situation within city hall," Hume said. "We instructed the city manager to hire an independent human resources individual to conduct confidential interviews with all the city staff."

Hume said after the interviews were conducted and the findings presented, the city council would revisit the matter in six months. Hume also said the council had expressed confidence in Gill and Cochran and that they viewed the chance to address reported low employee morale as an opportunity to improve Elk Grove.

"It has been an valuable exercise," Hume said. "Hopefully we are moving forward in a positive direction."

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Anonymous said...

After 2.5 hours of evaluation, the best the Mayor could announce was we're doing a "survey", we'll revisit the issue in 6 months, and VOTE OF CONFIDENCE in the CM and CA. Wow! Here's a group of folks that don't want to be bothered. Did the Council initiate this "survey"? When? or did the City Manager initiate the survey? Who signed the contract to do the survey? Who collected and presented the information to the Council? The survey is still open, and yet the Council announces a vote of confidence? A bit premature, eh? AND, WHO WAS COPIED ON THE EMAILS TO EMPLOYEES WHO HAD BEEN SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SURVEY? -- THE CITY MANAGER. So much for independent; so much for confidentiality. There's a limb no employee is going to step out on.

Anonymous said...

What I really like about this is that the city council is asking the city manager to hire a consultant to investigate herself. If the city council was serious about this they would look for an independent consultant themselves. But I am sure the city manager is going to hire a consultant that is fair and impartial. Not! Watch out city employees Gill and Cochran are coming after you.

Anonymous said...

These "leaders" are all protecting each other's backs. They could care less about us commoners. Regular folks, be careful, it's payback time.

Anonymous said...

This has conflict of interest stamped all over it. Since when does an "independent" inquiry or investigation into an allegation be put in the hands of the person against whom the complaint is being made? This is giving the fox the keys to the chicken coop. What sort of honest response do you think you're going to get from emploees who serve "at the pleasure of" a person who seems to hold the power to terminate jobs with no recourse or due process? What's the body count now with the tombstones bearing the inscription of "unfunded positions" or citing fiscal shortfalls when some of the information suggests a personal dislikes or conflict with the individual?

I had some hope that the city council would take heart with all the input that seemed to be coming from a number of folks spread throughout the community, but for whatever reason, they came back with an unbelieveable so called solution? Geez Louise, this smacks of complicity and an attempt at public appeasement of an issue they hope will go away after the smoke clears. I sincerely hope that there's someone out there who's been a victim of this process with enough fortitude to keep pushing this issue to a better resolution than I've seen thus far. This needs formal intervention by a court process that has the power to subpoena documents and depose personnel. "Please" isn't going to get very far.

If....and I do say "if", there is any substance to some of these allegations, they need to be addressed by an independent inquiry sponsored by and reporting to the city council...not to the individual(s) against whom the allegations are made. That's a basic tenant of a fair and impartial inquiry. Anything else smacks of impropriety.

Is this so-called "investigation" into these allegations written up somewhere? Is this report available to the public so we, the taxpayers who ultimately paid for the services and report made by some entity; is this report available to review? Most likely not since the city manager will probably say it is some sort of confidential document.

I can only say that after all I've read from a number of well intentioned Elk Grove citizens, and recognizing that most of the information has come from anonymous sources; I can honestly say that I'm sorely disappointed with the outcome.

If you don't give your employees some sort of protection from a (alleged) hostile work environment, you can end up creating an atmosphere conducive to inroads from labor unions. I'm sure that there are some already following this fiasco.

Anonymous said...

And the city wanted to hire nine new employees last night with no job descriptions. Were do we apply? And say but true, we aren't we making this stuff up.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove is such an unplanned mess. Now it seems that we have problems with an unprofessional work environment.

My gut feel is that the next thing to happen will be an investigation by the NAACP.

Look at the lack of African Americans and other minorities in supervisory and management positions at the City and with the police and fire departments.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I am not politically savvy by any stretch but even I can tell this is totally ludicrous!!! To instruct a person to hire someone to "investigate" themselves? How totally stupid is that? Come on council, wise up! Or is that the problem: we have elected idiots? And "Mayor" Hume wants to run for office again? I hope the citizens of Elk Grove unite and get rid of this buffoon at the next election!

Malleus Codex said...

Hey Laura! Hire me. I'll take the "consultant" job for $250,000 and I can promise you the "results" that you need!! My memory doesn't work as we'll as it used to...didn't Richard Nixon fire Archibald Cox??? What a bloody joke. Hume and Company need to be VOTED OUT OF OFFICE. As far as I'm concerned, Steve Detrick was the only one with any integrity...and now I have very serious question about him, too.

Anonymous said...

They should not be voted out of office, but thrown out of office. Such a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Steve Detrick stepped up and made this investigation happen. He set it in motion. It may not be what we wanted but at least a light is shining on all the dirty little secrets at city hall. May be a flashlight now but if employees are honest and unite, the spotlight will catch a rat or two.

I say get the survey questions and get them to a council member with what answers you gave.

If what you told the HR expert doesn't show up in the any of the reports the council members get in their "confidential" report and the council member knows what was written, then the council member will know the entire investigation was all smoke and mirrors.

As they say, there is more than one why to catch a rat?

Anonymous said...

If staff is even half-way honest with the HR consultant, and the HR consultant is even half-way honest with the Council, then this Council has a tough and high profile decision to make. We'll all be waiting and watching.

Attention City Employees said...

If you haven’t already, please Google the HR company who is doing the “independent” investigation.

One of their “principal consultants” is now Anne Marie Gold. Ms. Gold, until a recent Sacramento County Grand Jury investigation and report was the Library Director of the Sacramento County Library.

According to the grand jury report, Ms. Gold was the poster boss for a hostile work environment and much, much more. So Ms. Eagan should be able to recognize the symptoms after a couple of questions and answers.

And here’s the kicker, “one employee” spoke up and brought Ms. Gold’s empire crashing down. (And not to mention all the money we taxpayers were cheated out of.)

And guess what else, the Library JPA board included our own Sophia Scherman who gave Ms. Gold a “vote of confidence” from our very dais and refused to believe the allegations.

I wonder what Ms. Scherman is saying now?

Anonymous said...

Now you know this is not going to go anywhere. The CC will hide this as private personnel issue and by the end of six months most will have forgotten all about it. Just read Pat Hume's letter and like he said, move forward, not continue to mire and wallow in hearsay. That should pretty much tell you where this is going!!! Hopefully some of our other CC have a backbone.

It seems every time there is an issue Sophia Scherman's name is connected in some way and I mean in a negative way! The HR expert, Senior Center, to name a few.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think the council will take a strong stand on this investigation. Seems the lid is off the kettle and steam is rising. Those wanting to be re-elected will have to face this problem head on or it will follow him throughout the campaign. A hostile work environment should not be allowed in any business; and when the taxpayers of Elk Grove (me) are paying for this government agency, we should demand that our taxpayers dollars be spent wisely and that our staff is well trained; treated fairly; and work in a safe/professional surroundings. IF NOT, as taxpayers, we should demand better. I don't think this issue will blow over too soon...we need accountability from this council and we need to demand to see the survey results.

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