Councilmember Heystek Joins Call for Independent Investigator

Last night, the Sacramento news stations picked up the story on the Grand Jury’s report about the Davis Fire Department. While their story focused largely on the incidence of drinking by firefighters and then sleeping it off at the fire station. There was also important new information provided including statements by Councilmember Lamar Heystek and City Manager Bill Emlen.

Davis City Councilmember Lamar Heystek called for an independent investigation into these allegations.

I think we need to bring in outside help to look into the Grand Jury allegations.”

CBS News 13’s broadcast focused mostly on the incidence of drinking, however, they also interviewed the City Manager by phone. At one point they asked Bill Emlen what Fire Chief Rose Conroy’s reaction to the Grand Jury report was.

“Her reaction is that she feels that there are a lot of things in the report that don’t paint an accurate picture of how the department is run.”

Bill Emlen went on to say that some of what is alleged in the report could be inaccurate.

But what is interesting about his statement is that it would appear that his initial denial to the press on Tuesday was based on what Chief Rose Conroy said.

Bill Emlen’s statement released on Tuesday said:

“We believe the Grand Jury Report includes several statements that are factually incorrect. Taken together, they contribute to a less-than-accurate picture of the Davis Fire Department.”

However, notably as important, was toward the end of the CBS News 13 broadcast, the reporter said that Bill Emlen said that an independent investigation will be underway immediately.

The question now is what form such an independent investigation might take. In order to really have the confidence of the public at this point, that investigation needs to be conducted by someone outside of the city’s chain of command. Basically it needs to be performed by someone like Bob Aaronson, who is the police ombudsman, or Bob Aaronson itself.

At this point, it appears that there is now momentum in that direction.

While there is general disappointment that the news coverage focused on the incidence of drinking rather than what appears to be more serious charges of undue union influence and hostile work environment, the public response to this appears to be putting pressure on the city to do something. It is becoming a point of embarrassment. The City Manager’s public response remains troubling, but behind the scenes there may be more acknowledgment that action must be taken.

We will have to wait and see until Monday to find out exactly what the plan is from the city’s perspective.

From my perspective I don’t understand the reluctance to independently investigate this issue. If the Chief is exonerated by such an investigation, the public will have much more confidence in such a report if it doesn’t come from the city itself. A witch hunt is not what we need, just someone who is not predisposed to back the city at all costs.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Budget/Fiscal

176 comments

  1. From what I have seen and heard all parties are calling for the Ombudsman to be the independent investagator. The truth will come out and there will be consequences or exoneration.

  2. From what I have seen and heard all parties are calling for the Ombudsman to be the independent investagator. The truth will come out and there will be consequences or exoneration.

  3. From what I have seen and heard all parties are calling for the Ombudsman to be the independent investagator. The truth will come out and there will be consequences or exoneration.

  4. From what I have seen and heard all parties are calling for the Ombudsman to be the independent investagator. The truth will come out and there will be consequences or exoneration.

  5. This better not be another variant of the wolf investigating his own conduct and declaring himself exonerated, or there will be demonstrations in Central Park. Mr. Emlen appears to have already demonstrated his shillyness by first having made unequivocal declarations, and then inserting “weasel wording” when he was talking to the Bee. He must’ve had a word with Harriet Steiner who tutored him on the more obvious elements of CYA. BTW, Jim Stevens is a knob (pass it on).

  6. This better not be another variant of the wolf investigating his own conduct and declaring himself exonerated, or there will be demonstrations in Central Park. Mr. Emlen appears to have already demonstrated his shillyness by first having made unequivocal declarations, and then inserting “weasel wording” when he was talking to the Bee. He must’ve had a word with Harriet Steiner who tutored him on the more obvious elements of CYA. BTW, Jim Stevens is a knob (pass it on).

  7. This better not be another variant of the wolf investigating his own conduct and declaring himself exonerated, or there will be demonstrations in Central Park. Mr. Emlen appears to have already demonstrated his shillyness by first having made unequivocal declarations, and then inserting “weasel wording” when he was talking to the Bee. He must’ve had a word with Harriet Steiner who tutored him on the more obvious elements of CYA. BTW, Jim Stevens is a knob (pass it on).

  8. This better not be another variant of the wolf investigating his own conduct and declaring himself exonerated, or there will be demonstrations in Central Park. Mr. Emlen appears to have already demonstrated his shillyness by first having made unequivocal declarations, and then inserting “weasel wording” when he was talking to the Bee. He must’ve had a word with Harriet Steiner who tutored him on the more obvious elements of CYA. BTW, Jim Stevens is a knob (pass it on).

  9. The independent investigator also needs to look into Bobby Weist and the union influence over promotions, favoritism, etc. There are many layers to this investigation that need to take place.

    Also, the protection of people’s anonymity will be very important.

  10. The independent investigator also needs to look into Bobby Weist and the union influence over promotions, favoritism, etc. There are many layers to this investigation that need to take place.

    Also, the protection of people’s anonymity will be very important.

  11. The independent investigator also needs to look into Bobby Weist and the union influence over promotions, favoritism, etc. There are many layers to this investigation that need to take place.

    Also, the protection of people’s anonymity will be very important.

  12. The independent investigator also needs to look into Bobby Weist and the union influence over promotions, favoritism, etc. There are many layers to this investigation that need to take place.

    Also, the protection of people’s anonymity will be very important.

  13. I certainly hope that an outside, independent investigation ensues. I, for one, would not want ANYONE – ombudsman or not – who is in any way associatd with the city looking into this. Otherwise, the investigation will have no credibility to many people, me included.

    In another case giving Yolo County a black eye, the Bee reported today there will now be an independent outside investigation of the situation at the courthouse where the doors were locked in one key courtroom for a “public” hearing, and the internal investigation of it pointed the finger at only the Sheriff’s department. Sure, the Sheriff’s Department locked the courtroom to all but those they wanted – and graciously unlocked the door for Prieto and the DA. Sadly, that court’s internal investigation ignored the fact that multiple courtrooms were closed and locked for the one hearing. Multiple judges permitted the entire situation to occur as it did. THe investigation should have addressed that set of facts and instead gives at least the appearance of impropriety by the bench. Dave Rosenberg is certainly not “stupid” but he did leave a glaring hole in his first act as presiding judge on a major controversial matter.

    This Grand Jury report should result in an independent investigation into the city staff, all elected officials who owe big allegiance to the union’s money and political activism, the fire department management and the union.

    While we’re at it, why not look at the DA’s office for that taxpayer financed helicopter ride for the DA and his favorite lieutenant whithin hours of the last cop killer sentencing? CHP supposedly gave them a private ride-along as high flying observers to “escort” the killer’s van to prison. Someone has been showing the big grin “thumbs up” photo of the DA over San Quentin around the office. Someone thought ahead to bring a camera for pete’s sake!It’s one thing to show solidarity with the fellow officers of the slain officer, it’s another to grandstand at taxpayer expense. The photo op is just tacky. Will we pay for another helicopter ride when and if this cop killer is convicted and sentenced?

    This is supposedly no longer a small town, good ‘ol boy, back woods county. That seems belied by recent events. The Sheriff, the Courts, the DA, and now Davis Fire Department – what are we paying for?

    Yolo county is embarrassing at times. We live in those times.

  14. I certainly hope that an outside, independent investigation ensues. I, for one, would not want ANYONE – ombudsman or not – who is in any way associatd with the city looking into this. Otherwise, the investigation will have no credibility to many people, me included.

    In another case giving Yolo County a black eye, the Bee reported today there will now be an independent outside investigation of the situation at the courthouse where the doors were locked in one key courtroom for a “public” hearing, and the internal investigation of it pointed the finger at only the Sheriff’s department. Sure, the Sheriff’s Department locked the courtroom to all but those they wanted – and graciously unlocked the door for Prieto and the DA. Sadly, that court’s internal investigation ignored the fact that multiple courtrooms were closed and locked for the one hearing. Multiple judges permitted the entire situation to occur as it did. THe investigation should have addressed that set of facts and instead gives at least the appearance of impropriety by the bench. Dave Rosenberg is certainly not “stupid” but he did leave a glaring hole in his first act as presiding judge on a major controversial matter.

    This Grand Jury report should result in an independent investigation into the city staff, all elected officials who owe big allegiance to the union’s money and political activism, the fire department management and the union.

    While we’re at it, why not look at the DA’s office for that taxpayer financed helicopter ride for the DA and his favorite lieutenant whithin hours of the last cop killer sentencing? CHP supposedly gave them a private ride-along as high flying observers to “escort” the killer’s van to prison. Someone has been showing the big grin “thumbs up” photo of the DA over San Quentin around the office. Someone thought ahead to bring a camera for pete’s sake!It’s one thing to show solidarity with the fellow officers of the slain officer, it’s another to grandstand at taxpayer expense. The photo op is just tacky. Will we pay for another helicopter ride when and if this cop killer is convicted and sentenced?

    This is supposedly no longer a small town, good ‘ol boy, back woods county. That seems belied by recent events. The Sheriff, the Courts, the DA, and now Davis Fire Department – what are we paying for?

    Yolo county is embarrassing at times. We live in those times.

  15. I certainly hope that an outside, independent investigation ensues. I, for one, would not want ANYONE – ombudsman or not – who is in any way associatd with the city looking into this. Otherwise, the investigation will have no credibility to many people, me included.

    In another case giving Yolo County a black eye, the Bee reported today there will now be an independent outside investigation of the situation at the courthouse where the doors were locked in one key courtroom for a “public” hearing, and the internal investigation of it pointed the finger at only the Sheriff’s department. Sure, the Sheriff’s Department locked the courtroom to all but those they wanted – and graciously unlocked the door for Prieto and the DA. Sadly, that court’s internal investigation ignored the fact that multiple courtrooms were closed and locked for the one hearing. Multiple judges permitted the entire situation to occur as it did. THe investigation should have addressed that set of facts and instead gives at least the appearance of impropriety by the bench. Dave Rosenberg is certainly not “stupid” but he did leave a glaring hole in his first act as presiding judge on a major controversial matter.

    This Grand Jury report should result in an independent investigation into the city staff, all elected officials who owe big allegiance to the union’s money and political activism, the fire department management and the union.

    While we’re at it, why not look at the DA’s office for that taxpayer financed helicopter ride for the DA and his favorite lieutenant whithin hours of the last cop killer sentencing? CHP supposedly gave them a private ride-along as high flying observers to “escort” the killer’s van to prison. Someone has been showing the big grin “thumbs up” photo of the DA over San Quentin around the office. Someone thought ahead to bring a camera for pete’s sake!It’s one thing to show solidarity with the fellow officers of the slain officer, it’s another to grandstand at taxpayer expense. The photo op is just tacky. Will we pay for another helicopter ride when and if this cop killer is convicted and sentenced?

    This is supposedly no longer a small town, good ‘ol boy, back woods county. That seems belied by recent events. The Sheriff, the Courts, the DA, and now Davis Fire Department – what are we paying for?

    Yolo county is embarrassing at times. We live in those times.