An independent investigator has completed a report into possible workplace misconduct by Santa Cruz City Councilmembers Drew Glover and Chris Krohn — but the report is not expected to be released publicly for a few weeks, city officials said Monday.
Although the details of the alleged misconduct remain unclear, the report aims to determine whether Krohn and Glover violated the city’s workplace standards.
According to the policy, behavior that violates the policy, “may include, but is not limited to, the following as perceived by a reasonable person: repeated infliction of verbal, written, or social media abuse such as the use of derogatory remarks, epithets, or insults; physical conduct that is threatening, intimidating, bullying, or humiliating; or the sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.”
The report was written by attorney Joe Rose of Rose Law in the Sacramento area. He was hired by the city in March as an independent investigator.
Lisa Murphy, City of Santa Cruz HR director, told Santa Cruz Local on Monday that she would not release the report until she met personally with all the involved parties. She said she has to meet with Krohn and Glover as well as six other witnesses and complainants.
Murphy expects to be done with those meetings within two weeks and release the report to the public then.
Krohn, reached by phone Monday afternoon, said that he has not seen the report yet and cannot comment due to confidentiality.
Glover, also reached by phone Monday, also said that he has not seen the report and cannot comment.
But, speaking generally, Glover said that he didn’t believe he had violated workplace conduct rules in any way.
WHAT WE KNOW
The independent investigator was tasked with looking into whether Krohn and Glover violated the city’s Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy.
City employees can file written complaints alleging workplace misconduct. A form asks for date, time, location and description of the alleged misconduct and a list of people who may have knowledge of the incident.
If the complaint can’t be resolved in-house, or is complex, then the city conducts a formal investigation, as in this case. Murphy said that she’s made a finding based on the report, but she hasn’t made that public yet. It’s up to her to decide next steps, if any.
“Unlike employees, where we can impose discipline, I cannot impose discipline on a council member. I can only make recommendations,” Murphy wrote in an email to Santa Cruz Local.
Councilmembers who violate the policy are, “subject to action on the part of the City intended to stop the conduct and protect others,” according to the policy.
City attorney Tony Condotti, reached by email Monday, was not able to elaborate on possible next steps, and whether the issue would be brought to city council.
He said because an outside special counsel has been advising the HR department on the matter, he could not comment.
Glover and Krohn are the subjects of a recall effort by the community group Santa Cruz United. More than 100 volunteers have been canvassing the city with petitions for the last few weeks. If they get 7,938 signatures on separate petitions against Krohn and Glover by Oct. 22, then voters will decide whether to remove Krohn and Glover from office.
The recall effort is separate from the Rose investigation. The petition lists several reasons for the recall campaign, including the way Krohn and Glover handled the closure of the Ross Camp, a homeless camp that grew near Highway 1 and River Street last fall.
Santa Cruz Local interviewed about a dozen petition signers earlier this month. One of the themes that came up in their reasons for signing was Krohn and Glover’s perceived misbehavior.
The petition against Glover alleges that Glover failed to meet basic standards of conduct and was bullying and disruptive in public meetings. The petition against Krohn alleges that Krohn refused to treat fellow councilmembers with respect. It also alleges that he failed to abide by rules of conduct.
The petition only lists one example — when Krohn and Glover walked out of two council meetings, on April 23 and May 14.
Krohn and Glover gave reasons for their early departures in separate interviews July 2. Krohn said he left the April 23 meeting early because he was feeling unwell. Glover said he left that meeting due to a personal emergency.
Both said they left the May 14 meeting in protest. They were unhappy with Mayor Martine Watkins’ decision to clear the chambers due to a disruptive attendee.
Glover said that he’s assuming the report will find nothing against him. He thinks it’s no coincidence that the investigation happened while a recall campaign was mounting against him and Krohn. He said he thinks the city council majority, for the first time in years, represents poor and marginalized people. He said much is at stake.
“No matter what happens with that [the report], we will need to be looking at the larger picture, asking why was there an investigation, were those claims real and why was it timed so well,” Glover said.
Glover has invited the public to a town hall he’s hosting 6-8 p.m. July 24 at the Louden Nelson Community Center at 301 Center St. He said it’s an opportunity for people to come to him with issues and questions. He’s also planning to present a calendar of his policy plans.
Kara Meyberg Guzman is the CEO and co-founder of Santa Cruz Local. Prior to Santa Cruz Local, she served as the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s managing editor. She has a biology degree from Stanford University and lives in Santa Cruz.