San Bernardino County approved a $140,000 contract with Santa Monica-based legal firm Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer to conduct the sexual harassment investigation of SB District Attorney Michael Ramos. Nearly six months later, the 200-page report is finished, according to a news article yesterday by Joe Nelson of The Sun.
According to the Sun article:
County spokesman David Wert said the report, which includes exhibits, is under review by county counsel and it won’t be until next week until a decision is made as to how the report will be presented to the Board of Supervisors, Ramos and the public. "Following the legal review, it will be determined in what manner it will be shared . . ." Wert said.
In August, Cheryl Ristow, a Redlands resident and investigative technician for the District Attorney’s Office, filed a sexual harassment complaint with the county after coming forward publicly with news about her alleged 17-month affair with Ramos, from September 2003 through February 2005.
Ristow alleges that after her alleged affair with Ramos went public in a local newspaper in May, she was subjected to a rebuff by Ramos and a workplace vendetta that consisted of write-ups and other disciplinary action that prompted her take a stress leave. She hasn’t returned to work since taking leave in July.
This report was 200 pages with exhibits. I have heard rumors that there are some employers who are not exceptionally thrilled to receive a "long" investigative report, but sometimes being thorough requires an investigator to submit very lengthy reports. One HR person at a seminar I attended groaned to the audience about reports running 50 pages! Based on my conversations with colleagues, I believe my reports tend to run on the longer side. I want to include as much relevant information as I can to help the parties see the whole picture, and I believe a detailed report will be helpful should the case wind up in litigation. Of course, I do provide an executive summary, which contains the most relevant facts and the analysis.
Further, and understandably, most employers and the complainant want the report competed "as soon as possible." Sometimes an investigation can be done in a day or two if the matter is non-complex. The complex cases require more time and usually involve multiple overlapping state and/or federal laws.
It sounds like this investigation was complex given the time it took to complete, the length of the report, and the potential $140K legal invoice. Plus, the fact that the accused harasser is a District Attorney probably made this investigator sure to quadriple-cross the I’s and quadriple-dot the T’s.