Yesterday, Council Members Pierson and Farrer asked the city council to consider hiring an outside firm to investigate the city manager’s allegations of harassment from Council Member Silverstein. It’s noteworthy that Reva Feldman and Bruce have never worked together and have communicated only by email or in public forums. It’s not like someone has made an allegation and now we need to investigate to find out if the bad thing really happened, or who’s telling the truth. Instead, the city would be paying someone to give an opinion about emails and meeting videos that are easily available to all of us, as to whether things Bruce has said constitute harassment.
What would make more sense to me for the city’s fiduciaries to do is, behind closed doors, ask legal counsel whether they could comfortably defend the city against a harassment lawsuit, given the circumstances. Then privately use that advice to inform their decisions, not to publicly inform the person who may soon be suing the city. (Since Reva wrote her letter of complaint, there have been about five closed session meetings agendized with the heading “Anticipated Litigation.”)
The only possible scenario where this public opinion-for-hire might serve the city is if there was an obvious zero chance of an opinion of harassment. But given Pierson’s and Farrer’s visible, nail-spitting, mind-clouding disdain for Bruce Silverstein, I can’t help believing they’re hoping for and rooting for a professional opinion that Bruce is, in fact, bad.
When Council Member Uhring pressed Pierson on the game plan, should the outside firm opine harassment, Pierson haltingly produced two answers: one, we would then realize we had liability and then we’d ask an attorney what to do about it (which is stupefying to do publicly, during actual pre-litigation negotiations about the city’s liability); and two, voters might want to recall [Bruce], a statement which Pierson then claimed Uhring had pushed him into saying, despite that Pierson said it out of left field.
Bingo. It seems Pierson and Farrer would have the city pay for a public opinion that it should be sued, in hopes of motivating a recall of Silverstein.