A couple of weeks ago, I made a posting about the completion of the workplace investigation of District Attorney Michael Ramos in San Bernardino County. Turns out that the scope of the investigation was limited to the issue of "retaliation". We now have an intra-office memorandum from Andrew Lamberto, the Director of Human Resources for the County of San Bernardino, concerning the contents of the report.
According to the Barb Stanton Radio Show, Director Lamberto indicates that the County is releasing redacted portions of the report to the public pursuant to the requirements of a California court case. HR Director Lamberto states his reasoning and timeline, as follows:
Upon completion of our initial review, at the request of the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors we met to discuss the process of releasing the results of the investigation, as well as related legal issues. The following timeline was presented. ~ Receipt of report, January 13, 2010. ~ Meeting with Chairman to review process, January 14, 2010. ~ Release of investigation findings to complainant, January 15, 2010. ~ Release of Investigation findings to the Board of Supervisors, January 15, 2010. ~ Release of investigation findings to the public, January 15, 2010.
Since the complaint alleges misconduct by a public official, District Attorney Mike Ramos, the public has an interest in receiving the results of this investigation.
BRV, Inc. v. Superior Court (2006) 143 Cal App. 4th 742. I am therefore providing to the Board of Supervisors excerpts from the investigation report below. It is also my intent to release this memorandum to the public.
Although both the Board of Supervisors and the public have interests in receiving the investigation report, there are also substantial privacy interests that we are legally obligated to protect. The claimant, witnesses and staff of the District Attorney’s Office have such privacy interests. Therefore, upon advice of legal counsel and at the direction of the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, only excerpts of the report are being released at this time. We believe this is required by the BRV appellate decision. After my office and County Counsel have had a more thorough opportunity to review and redact the report to protect the privacy interest of the claimant, witnesses and staff, we will be reporting to the Board of Supervisors regarding the release of report.
This memo underscores again why investigators should never "promise" complete confidentiality to participants in an investigation. In determining how much of the report to release to the public, the County will be balancing the interests of the public’s right to know versus the privacy interests of the participants in the investigation.