Inquiry into Santa Rosa Councilman Gary Wysocky complete, still secret

The six-month investigation into whether Santa Rosa City Councilman Gary Wysocky created a hostile work environment at City Hall is over, but details of the probe remain secret because neither city officials nor Wysocky would release its findings.

City Manager Kathy Millison and Mayor Scott Bartley both confirmed the recent completion of the inquiry by San Francisco attorney Morin Jacob but declined to discuss it or release its conclusions, calling it a confidential personnel matter.

Wysocky confirmed he received a "vague, 3-page letter" from Jacob last week but refused to disclose it, citing the advice of his personal attorney. He said he had nothing to hide but was concerned about putting himself in legal jeopardy if he did so. He said he had no objection to the city releasing the letter.

"I want (the city) to bear the responsibility of someone claiming that their confidential employee rights were violated," Wysocky said. "I shouldn't have to bear that responsibility."

The murky conclusion to the highly unusual probe of the two-term councilman and candidate for Sonoma County auditor-controller-treasurer-tax collector left at least one council member frustrated that the resolution of the matter isn't clearer.

"It's kind of like we've had a trial and we've had an outcome but we can't say whether anyone is guilty or not guilty," said Councilman Jake Ours, who said he's been told very little about the investigation. "This can't be the way it's supposed to be. Why would you have this process if nothing comes of it?"

Wysocky said the investigation confirmed that he "never violated the city's anti-harassment and discrimination policy." He declined to say whether the investigator found he violated other city or council codes or policies.

He acknowledged that the investigation determined he failed to treat the mayor and city attorney with respect during the tense weeks following the fatal Oct. 22 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, but said he strongly disagreed with that conclusion.

"Disagreements are part of the democratic process," he said in a statement. "Any effort by the Mayor, City Attorney or this outside attorney they hired to silence dissent through coerced niceness is an attempt at intimidation, which I reject."

The investigation first came to light in November as the council debated the city's reaction to the death of Lopez, who was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who reportedly mistook his BB gun for an assault rifle. City Attorney Caroline Fowler declined to turn over to the council an email exchange she had with Wysocky, citing advice of outside counsel, which perplexed several council members.

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