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Council to Hire Outside Firm to Investigate Complaints About City Manager

Redondo Beach City Manager Bill Workman has come under fire in recent months.

Council to Hire Outside Firm to Investigate Complaints About City Manager

The Redondo Beach City Council on Tuesday is expected to discuss and approve an agreement authorizing a law firm to conduct workplace investigations within city hall.

Todd C. Simonson, a partner in the law firm Jackson Lewis PC, has conducted about 50 workplace investigations over the past six years, according to an administrative report prepared by Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb.

The agenda item comes two weeks after the city council announced that it would hire an outside investigator to look into complaints and charges against City Manager Bill Workman. 

Workman was the subject of a no-confidence vote among city employees held toward the end of last year. About 70 percent of the city's total work force—or about 98 percent of the 297 employees who returned ballots—expressed no confidence in the city manager's performance.

Members of the Coalition of Redondo Employees allege that Workman has not been "honest" in his dealings with employees during a tense series of contract negotiations for five of the city's six employee groups.

Before the Jan. 14 city council meeting adjourned to closed session, Workman read a statement to the mayor and council. In the statement, the city manager reaffirmed his commitment to the city and indicated that he respects the "rights of unions to bargain for improvements to wages, benefits and pensions."

Workman grew emotional as he continued in his statement.

"The repeated attacks on me in recent months have been harassing, hostile and in retaliation for my work as one of your designated labor relations representatives—and—for carrying out the fiduciary duties mandated upon me as your city manager," he said before going into more detail. 

Workman alleged that an attorney representing the Redondo Beach Firefighters Association "stated to me that if I did not agree the compensation demands of the City's public employee unions, they would personally attack me and that my health would suffer.

"This was an unequivocal intimidation and threat by the unions," Workman said. ( Read Workman's full statement.

Stewart Adams, the attorney, denied these allegations in a letter to Workman that was shared with members of the press.

"I am saddened by your remarks," Adams wrote. ( Read Adams' complete response.) "I am saddened because I never threatened you, and I certainly made no comments that your health would be jeopardized or that you would be subjected to personal attacks."

Tuesday's closed session agenda includes a public employee performance evaluation for the city manager, as well as an item for public employee discipline/dismissal/release—complaints or charges brought against an employee by another person or employee. It is not known whether the latter is related to Workman. 

Closed session of Tuesday's city council meeting will begin at 4:30 at city hall, located at 415 Diamond St. in South Redondo Beach. The council's open session will begin at 6 p.m.

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