South Lake Tahoe police chief asks DA to investigate councilmember’s allegations | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Lake Tahoe police chief asks DA to investigate councilmember’s allegations

Claire Cudahy & Ryan Hoffman

UPDATE:

The city of South Lake Tahoe has taken the first step in kicking off an investigation into alleged violations of the state’s open meeting law made by Councilmember Brooke Laine in an open letter to the community.

On Monday afternoon, South Lake Tahoe Police Department Chief Brian Uhler sent a letter to El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson requesting an investigation into Laine’s claims of Brown Act violations.

“In my experience, those with a sense of civic responsibility routinely report violations of the law to proper authorities as opposed to publicly ‘reporting’ on the internet,” wrote Uhler, referring to Laine’s decision to send her open letter to media outlets. “Since this does not appear to be the case here, I ask you to initiate an investigation into any/all aspect you deem best.”

Uhler provided his analysis of Laine’s “op-ed” in his letter to Pierson.

“Ironically, while Ms. Laine claims she is shining a light on improper or illegal actions, she conceals any specific descriptions of actual incidents or the identity of the involved individuals,” continued Uhler.

Uhler noted that “Ms. Laine’s public actions have undoubtedly caused some in the public to feel less secure in their government” and asked for the district attorney to “expedite [his] investigatory efforts and publicly report, to the fullest extent possible, outcomes or finding in an effort to restore confidence in the government of the city of South Lake Tahoe.”

The Tribune will update this story as more details become available.

ORIGINAL POST: South Lake Tahoe mayor asks for DA investigation into alleged ‘violations of law’

In response to an open letter from a member of City Council alleging violations of the state’s open meeting law, South Lake Tahoe’s mayor is requesting the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office investigate the allegations.

In a press release sent Monday morning, Mayor Wendy David said she is confident the investigation will show that the “accusations are misguided and untruthful.”

Those accusations came from Councilmember Brooke Laine in the form of an open letter to the community that was sent to local media outlets Sunday morning.

“I am providing the following information because I can no longer be a party to the violations of law, secrecy, manipulation, lies, and power struggles that are rampant at the city today,” Laine wrote.

Without specifically mentioning it, much of Laine’s letter appears to focus on the city’s handling of former City Manager Nancy Kerry’s departure.

Current, former South Lake Tahoe employees: City manager created 'toxic' workplace

Kerry was placed on leave in early February for reasons that have not been made public. The two parties struck a separation agreement a month later. That agreement included a clause preventing both parties from disparaging one another.

In the letter, Laine specifically referenced a contract with Mary Egan, a partner with the consulting firm MRG who was hired in the fall of 2017 to conduct an “assessment of the City leadership effectiveness, the culture of the senior management team, succession planning status and related issues.”

City Council has not addressed the contract with Egan in open session, a point Laine raised in her letter.

“To this day, that contract has never been addressed, corrected, or publicly acknowledged,” wrote Laine. “Multiple violations of law have occurred in closed session, often relating to discussions involving personal attacks on non-agenda issues.”

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The issues raised in Laine’s letter amount to “serious accusations and allegations,” David stated in the press release, and they should be “fully and adequately investigated.”

“I believe that a thorough and independent investigation will provide the community, the City Council, city staff and other elected and appointed officials facts and truth as opposed to opinion and biased conjecture,” David wrote. “I am saddened and disappointed that Ms. Laine holds these damaging opinions. I have no doubt that the results of this investigation will plainly show that Ms. Laine’s accusations are misguided and untruthful.”


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The Tribune will update this story as more details become available.