Santa Rosa mayor calls for release of secret documents

Mayor Scott Bartley on Tuesday called for the release of secret documents related to the investigation into whether Councilman Gary Wysocky created a hostile work environment at City Hall.

Bartley said such confidential personnel investigations are normally kept private for good reason. But in the interests of transparency and because Wysocky already has revealed a portion of the findings, Bartley said more information should come out.

"I believe that in the interests of openness and transparency, and ultimately to the benefit of our employees, that the investigation and its conclusions be made public," Bartley said.

Bartley said he has struggled with the conflict between the expectation of confidentiality in such matters and the public's right to know. But he said Wysocky's "partial release of information is of great concern" and "is not conveying an accurate account of what transpired."

He called for the council to have a future public discussion about the release of "all information about the investigation that would not compromise the privacy of our staff."

The six-month investigation was initiated by Bartley in November after he overheard Wysocky and City Attorney Caroline Fowler arguing in the tense days after the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez.

The city hired an outside attorney to investigate the matter, the results of which remain secret. Wysocky, Bartley and Fowler all received letters informing them of the outcome of the probe, but those letters haven't been released, either.

Wysocky on Tuesday seemed taken aback by Bartley's move. After chiding the mayor for not having the courtesy to discuss the matter with him first, he said had no problem with additional information being released.

"I'm fine with bringing this out in the open. I always have been and always will be," Wysocky said.

But he also blasted the mayor for his "lack of leadership" and "continuing this politically motivated circus."

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