Additional Information Regarding the New Investigation
In addition to my press release, here are some more detailed findings from the Baker Street Investigations report:
“It appears that Karen Kramer (KWI) experienced Expectation Bias in her reporting.”
Expectation Bias – A well-established phenomenon that occurs in scientific analysis when investigator(s) reach a premature conclusion without having examined or considered all of the relevant data. Instead of collecting and examining all of the data in a logical and unbiased manner to reach a scientifically reliable conclusion, the investigator(s) uses the premature determination to dictate investigative processes, analyses, and, ultimately, conclusions, in a way that is not scientifically valid. The introduction of expectation bias into the investigation results in the use of only that data that supports this previously formed conclusion and often results in the misinterpretation and/or the discarding of data that does not support the original opinion. Investigators are strongly cautioned to avoid expectation bias through proper use of the scientific method.
“Liberties were taken with respect to assigning feelings to statements and situations that were not documented either in testimonial evidence and/or text-based attachments. Various examples of these liberties are noted in the previous pages of this document. Although outward appearances tend to indicate a dedication to thoroughness and professionalism, I believe the substance on which KWI conclusions were formed was insufficient for investigative use.”
“Observation without context, with personal perceptions after the fact, does not equal corroboration. The only third-party observer was one whose observation was that of a mutual extraprofessional encounter. Witnesses who perceive/believe and then comment without further corroborative efforts by the investigator should not be considered reliable/credible under KWI report section VI subsection B.”
As noted in the comments of this new report, a City employee currently under investigation for misconduct during the original investigation is also the same employee who chose the attorney Karen Kramer who isn’t licensed to be an investigator. This may explain why the City-funded report was so unprofessional, jumped to conclusions based on no supporting evidence, and was clearly biased. It may also explain why the lawyer responsible for the first report, and City staff, went out of their way to prevent me from being interviewed. I made myself available in January by email and again emailed the director of HR on March 25th telling her I was available any time. She never responded to me. Without my interview, Kramer was able to make the false assertions she made, such as statements of witnesses being “undisputed”.
The City’s own Harassment and Discrimination policy also says the investigation “shall” interview the accused, the accused being me. “Shall” is a legal term meaning “mandatory”.
“Shall is an imperative command, usually indicating that certain actions are mandatory, and not permissive.” -Law.cornell.edu
They refused to interview me for the first investigation, violating yet another one of their own policies.
Also, a new witness employed by the City states that the employee making the allegations against me may have had a similar relationship with one of her subordinates in the past which may have resulted in the termination of her subordinate. (This is undetermined and currently under investigation.)
BSI also finds it likely that:
– This was a mutual friendship that evolved through romance to remorse.
– Watson’s actions are explained by mental health difficulties.
– The employee exaggerated her discomfort for some gain.
– The investigator Karen Kramer experienced bias in her reporting.
Of note is the fact that Karen Kramer (KWI) questionably chose to omit the employee’s emails from the employee to me, and only included my emails to her. In May of this year, I made public records requests for the missing emails, as well as audio copies of all of the interviews Kramer conducted, as her report declared the interviews are, “available upon request.”
Baker Street Investigations states:
“A Public Records Act (PRA) request was sent to the City of Arcata requesting the audio files from the KWI interviews. The name of the City official who chose KWI, copies of both sides of the Watson/ email exchanges, any and all Arcata Police Department records related to Watson were also requested. The City had responded to counsel denying all requested information except for email exchanges. These emails were supposed to “be available on or before June 17, 2022” but have yet to materialize.”
This new Baker Street Investigations report makes clear that the City has been withholding this public information for months in violation of the California Public Records Act, and is impeding the public from having access to all of the pertinent information regarding this investigation. Attorneys for the City said in a letter (included in the new report) that the missing emails would be provided to me on June 17th of this year. They never fulfilled their promise and they’ve since stopped replying to my attorney’s requests with no explanation.
Regarding the audio recordings of interviews, the City attorneys claimed they do not have the interviews in their possession (maybe they could ask for them as they’re City property paid for by Arcata taxpayers?) and that even if they did have them, they wouldn’t provide them to the public because supposedly there’s another employee who had made a complaint about me and somehow the audio recordings could affect that investigation.
The City has been saying there’s another investigation into me for the last 9 MONTHS. What’s taking so long? And how is it possible there’s another investigation into me when the City’s own harassment and discrimination policy says that in the event a complaint is made, the accused shall receive a letter explaining the accusation within 3 days of the complaint. Again, it’s been 9 months. I’ve never received a letter from the City regarding this.
The City’s policy also stipulates that the accused shall be told the name of the person making the complaint against them. The City has not given me any information about this alleged complaint.
City of Arcata Harassment and Discrimination Policy:
“E. Upon notification of a formal harassment complaint that relates to personnel other than
Police Officers, the Personnel Director shall:
- Within three (3) working days of receipt of the complaint, provide the complainant and the accused harasser with a copy of this policy and a confidential memorandum regarding the nature of the complaint.”
- Authorize a full and effective investigation of the complaint and supervise and/or investigate the complaint. The investigations will be immediate, confidential, thorough, objective and completed and shall include interviews with the complainant, the accused harasser and any other persons the Personnel Director has reason to believe have relevant knowledge concerning the complaint.
The policy also says, “The City must disclose the name of the complaining party to the accused in order to complete a full and fair investigation. “
The City has not done any of this and it’s 9 months later.
If it’s an informal complaint, then the City has been working on it for 9 months?! I know from information coming out of the City attorney’s office that they did hire an investigator months ago, meaning they classified it as a formal complaint. Yet I received no letter from the City and haven’t been contacted by any investigator regarding the alleged second investigation into me.
Where is the investigator’s contract agreement for this new investigation into me? One possibility is a strategy sometimes used by the City: Our contract City attorney hires the needed professional for a sensitive situation under her business name in an effort to obfuscate from the public, or a City adversary, what the tax dollars are really being spent on. Then, the contract attorney bills the City accordingly through their business. This at least delays the knowledge being available to the public if the attorney’s business chooses to itemize the expense on a future invoice to the City.
Based on these facts, it’s highly unlikely another complaint actually exists and it’s much more likely the City is trying to create a false narrative to manipulate public opinion about me. Perhaps the only other possibility is that the investigator conducting the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by me and the City doesn’t want to admit it.
To add to all of this, last week I accessed my City email account where I had created a folder titled, “Invest.”, short for “Investigation”. In this folder, I had sorted numerous emails from over the last 10 months pertaining to my complaints made to HR, and other emails and information regarding the City investigation into me. When I opened the folder, it was completely empty. I tried every way possible to locate the missing emails with no success. I then emailed the City employee charged with maintaining all City email accounts and servers. I explained the problem to him and he replied that it sounded odd and he would look into it. He replied again and said he didn’t understand the problem and if I could describe to him one of the missing emails. Thankfully, upon the advice from Mom, I had printed out hard copies of many of the missing emails. I provided the date and time of a missing email and the City employee replied that he could see a record of the email once existing but could not find the email itself. I further explained that years of emails from the employee making the allegations against me were missing (The same emails the City is refusing to provide to the public via my public records request). He said he was going to look into it and then he stopped communicating with me.
Only the City staff has the ability to completely destroy emails from City servers. This is a precaution taken to preserve all City communications for public records and PRA requests. Council members do not have the ability to destroy emails.