Report by investigator incomplete

Publication Date: Wednesday Apr 8, 1998

CITY COUNCIL: Report by investigator incomplete

Council will continue discussion of sandbag investigation next week

by Elisabeth Traugott

Most of the Palo Alto City Council's marathon 2 1/2-hour closed session Monday night was spent deliberating an outside investigator's report into allegations that city employees sandbagged City Manager June Fleming's home the day of the flood of Feb. 3, Mayor Dick Rosenbaum said. No reportable action was taken.

"The council had a bunch of questions and essentially the investigation is not complete," Rosenbaum said after emerging from the closed session. He said the discussion will be continued in a closed session at the regular council meeting April 13.

Fleming did not participate in the discussion.

Rosenbaum said earlier in the day that the City Council has retained outside counsel to advise them on their options in assessing the investigator's report.

City Attorney Ariel Calonne confirmed that Cynthia O'Neill, an attorney with the Mountain View firm Whitmore Johnson & Bolanos, has been hired to advise the council. Calonne said O'Neill has "tremendous expertise" in personnel-related areas that he is less familiar with.

The allegations that two police officers and two firefighters were sent to Fleming's house by Fire Chief Ruben Grijalva the afternoon of Feb. 3 first surfaced in an anonymous letter sent to the fire department, City Council members and some media organizations in the weeks after the flood.

The letter contains other allegations about Grijalva's track record as the highest-ranking fire administrator. The other allegations are within the scope of the investigation, but Rosenbaum said that the only part of the investigation discussed in the closed session Monday night was the sandbagging incident.

Also discussed in the closed session were a risk of litigation by an undisclosed plaintiff and a pending lawsuit filed by former utilities employee Danton Camm, who was fired from his job for allegedly threatening to kill co-workers. An arbitrator has since ruled that Camm can return to work. 

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