Mystery remains over who leaked public records detailing the official’s complaint against City Councilman Matt Tracy
Gladstone officials pay the investigator more than $7,000 to produce a report that concludes “there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that anyone in particular” is leaked public documents marked “citizen confidential.”
Jill Goldsmith of Workplace Solutions NW will receive at least $7,100 to produce the leak investigation report, but final billing has not been determined, and the bills so far only cover the investigator’s work through September. The city agreed to pay the investigator $250 an hour, plus expenses, to research how Bill Osborne, who was removed as a member of the city advisory council by a 6-1 council vote on July 13, obtained some public records linked to Director Jack Betz’s complaint. Against City Councilman Matt Tracy.
“I think it is more than likely that someone in (city) council will share the documents,” Goldsmith wrote. “Other than identifying those who are least likely to do so, I can’t come to a conclusion because there is no conclusive evidence pointing to a specific person and no one has admitted it.”
On November 30, Gladstone City Council members voted unanimously to release the investigation into the leak to the public, after correcting what Goldsmith called “typos, misspelling the name and changing the location of an incident involving the city council’s daughter from Fred Meyer to Safeway.” However, there were still errors in the leak’s investigation document: Tracy was chosen as the chair of the board on January 12, not January 14; In addition, Osburn’s name and the name of one of Gladstone’s employees were misspelled in the final report.
With the investigation into the leak complete, Tracy’s behavior has yet to be investigated, with all but two City Council members insisting it was over last summer. Two other elected officials had vehemently opposed the investigation of their fellow elected officials when Tracy reportedly used his position to try to gain a professional advantage over the city manager’s choice of an adviser, during an unscheduled one-on-one meeting in her office. Facing an appeal from Pamplin Media Group to the attorney general, Gladstone City Council members voted on August 10 to release documents related to last summer’s complaint against Tracy.
During the leak investigation report, Goldsmith reviewed a list of potential suspects who gained access to the Betz-Tracy documents in determining who might have leaked public records.
City Councilman Randy Ripley responded to Goldsmith’s first request to speak with him, but he never responded to what Goldsmith saw as four subsequent attempts to arrange a meeting.
“I have no information on whether Ripley denies sharing the information,” Goldsmith wrote.
Goldsmith’s suspicions did not fall on Betz and his fellow city-mate, human resources director Nancy MacDonald, with the investigator saying that neither of them appeared to have “a motive for sharing embarrassing employee documents,” putting their jobs at risk.
Since he “also suffered embarrassment over this case”, Tracy himself was considered low on the list of suspects. Goldsmith considered Tracy’s archetypal political ally Tracy Todd (unrelated) also unlikely.
“Todd was and continues to be friendly with Tracy and was upset on his behalf upon the release of these documents,” Goldsmith wrote.
Todd’s daughter got several vertebrae in the leak report because she was standing in line at the pharmacy behind Osborne while he was speaking with an unidentified man a few days before Osborne released the report. Todd’s daughter told the detective that while he was in line, Osborne told the other guy, “I really want to embarrass them” and that he would “communicate with Tammy.”
Chances are that this interaction was related to the documents in question, Goldsmith wrote. “Further, I think it’s possible that ‘Tami’ (that) Osborne referred to is (Mayor) Stemple. However, we don’t know for sure. I respect what Lauren Todd mentioned and her introduction to Osborne on the matter.”
Stempel voted against Tracy’s nomination for chairperson, in part because she was concerned about what she described as his pattern of bullying behavior that continued in his confrontation with Betz last summer.
Betz told the investigator that in December 2020, Stempel and former city councilor Neil Reisner requested permission to publicly release the information in Betz’s complaint, which Betz discouraged. The investigator wrote that Stempel and Reisner wanted to release the complaint for “embarrassment” of Tracy, which Betz said was another error in the investigation report, and Betz said she never told the investigator. Stempel and Reisner denied having anything to do with the release of the documents.
Betz also told the detective that sometime between February and April of 2021, newly elected city councilor Greg Alexander Betz told Osborne that Osborne was looking for information about the complaint.
“I am concerned that Alexander told me he had read and deleted the documents and had not considered any of them in January 2021,” Goldsmith wrote. “Email evidence shows that he requested another transcript on April 7, 2021. Alexander declined my requests for a follow-up interview to ask him about this (although he was unaware of what the follow-up interview was about). He asked me for written questions in advance, which is not a best practice for conducting investigations. “.
Alexander denied that he provided public records to anyone. Osborne told the city council he didn’t know who gave her the documents, and was surprised to find them on his porch one day in a white envelope inside a Ziploc bag.
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