A year ago November, the entire city council voted to keep the August 2016 public surveillance videos of Street Supervisor Tony Ashbaugh and contractual treasurer Debra Lambrix away from the public due to bad advise of an attorney. Ray Kirkus had to retain an attorney and file a lawsuit to uncover the cover-up through a court order by Judge Dennis Wiley who ruled the videos to be within the public domain. Although the videos were ruled to be available to the public, they have only been provided to Kirkus and his attorney at this time. Yesterday I received a partial transcript that was made at the time that the videos were handed over to then City Manager Rob Anderson by then Chief Larry Pitchford. The council members like to congratulate themselves for acting legally but they violated the Freedom of Information Act, spending thousands of dollars on legal fees and court costs apparently just to protect Ashbaugh.
A previous post detailed a trail of actions and reactions taken against Pitchford after he blew the whistle on the videos to his supervisor Anderson. Whistleblower beware It appeared that there was an ongoing effort to damage the Chief with an end result of the council’s forcing retirement just months prior to him retiring on his own.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has issued seven decisions addressing retaliation under EEOC-enforced laws, and the filing of EEO claims that include a retaliation allegation has continued to grow. Charges of retaliation surpassed race discrimination in 2009 as the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination, accounting for 44.5 percent of all charges received by EEOC in FY 2015.” EEO Fact Sheet
According to the transcript, it appears that Tony Ashbaugh knew where the keys were to the main office filing cabinets. He said he noticed the keys were gone but Debra Lembrix told him they were in the drawer and he found them. Personnel files are kept in the front office cabinets so the street supervisor had access to them. Is it a coincidence that the reprimand of Larry Pitchford that was supposed to be expunged from his personnel file through the results of the investigation by Attorney Sara Bell showed up recently through FOIA requests? According to the transcript, Ashbaugh suggested to Lambrix (contractual treasurer) to put her ‘cranial cap out there for something about Larry (Pitchford), something that can’t be tracked to us.’ According to the transcript, Ashbaugh suggested they were looking for skeletons in the closet for “something that could be brought into public at a council meeting like they did with me and the barter thing.” “Since all of them (police)look upon me with ‘fucking distain’.’
Shouldn’t the city council be more interested in the policies and practices of the city than to work so hard to keep public documents out to the hands of the public?