Like Abbott & Costello or Lucy & Ricky, City Manager Scott Pickup and City Attorney Kristen Wilson have teamed up once again to command center stage at Rye Golf Club–only nobody's laughing at this duo. The last time we heard from these two peas, there was a split in the pod. Mr. Pickup had just finished telling Rye Golf Club members that the club's arrangement with RM Staffing and Scott Yandrasevich was all above board, legal, and that Ms. Wilson had vetted it. Who's on first? Right. What? The only problem is, Ms. Wilson told the press she didn't vet RM Staffing at all. What's on second. Who? No, who's on first. Then who's on second? Who's on first, What's on second. What? That's right.
This might be comical, except this is about a $7,000,000 labor arrangement, possible criminal conduct and an institution dear to the fabric of Rye's community.
As an encore to their 'Who's on RM' skit, Mr. Pickup and Ms. Wilson crafted a memo to all department heads, city employees and board and commission members, urging them to contact the city manager and/or city attorney if at any time they "should feel uncomfortable responding to requests for information or speaking with" attorneys hired by the City Council to investigate the recent events at Rye Golf Club.
OH, LUUUCY... YOU GOT SOME 'SPAINING TO DO!
How convenient for Mr. Pickup, who lied about the city's vetting of the company now under investigation, to be able to ask city employees to "please" contact him should those investigator's questions make them uncomfy. And how seemingly inappropriate.
Mr. Pickup was hired by the City of Rye as the assistant city manager in 2005. He was promoted to city manager in 2010, by a unanimous vote of the city council, including: Mayor French, Mr. Filippi, Jovanovich, Sack and Ms. Gamache, Keith and Parker (who was opposed to the idea at first but was swayed after speaking to Mr. Pickup himself).
THE $7 MILLION DOLLAR MAN
As the assistant city manager, and now city manager, Scott Pickup has intimate knowledge of, and has been personally involved in, the approval process for most of the $7,000,000 charged to RGC by RM Staffing since 2007. A fact the city manager cannot hide from.
MEMO MISLEADS STAFF; CONTRADICTS CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION
In the resolution adopted October 10, 2012, with public pressure, the Rye City Council declared itself the lead investigative body "of the recent events at Rye Golf Club". A broad scope that would allow an investigation to take shape, develop and lead investigators where it may.
City Council Meeting Minutes, October 12, 2012: RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Rye declare itself the lead investigative body of the recent events at Rye Golf Club, and that the City Council will work in conjunction with Labor Counsel and law enforcement, as appropriate. Pursuant to that, the City Council will make its own determination as to any professional auditors or advisers that the City may retain.
October 18, 2012 RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Rye will enter into an Agreement with Brune & Richard LLP to conduct an investigation into the Rye Golf Club.
However, Mr. Pickup and Ms. Wilson's memo grossly misleads city employees–who may soon be asked to speak with investigators–with this one disturbing, simply false, statement: "Importantly, the investigation is limited to the Rye Golf Manager’s action and no one else is being investigated."
CITY MNGR/ATTY: WE'LL ADDRESS SITUATION FOR YOU
As if misrepresenting the scope of an ongoing investigation into departments and employees under his management weren't enough, Mr. Pickup & Ms. Wilson added this doosy: "If at any time you feel uncomfortable responding to requests for information or speaking with [the investigator], please let us know and we will address the situation."
Let's break that one down, and remember, this is an independent investigation that was taken away from Mr. Pickup in the first place because golf club members weren't comfortable with him leading it:
1) "If at anytime you feel uncomfortable": Anytime would encompass before, during or after speaking with investigators. It would stand to reason then, that the city manager told employees to feel free to contact him in the middle of their testimony, conceivably, if need be.
§ 215.10 Tampering with a witness in the fourth degree. A person is guilty of tampering with a witness when, knowing that a person is or is about to be called as a witness in an action or proceeding, (a) he wrongfully induces or attempts to induce such
person to absent himself from, or otherwise to avoid or seek to avoid
appearing or testifying at, such action or proceeding, or (b) he
knowingly makes any false statement or practices any fraud or
deceit with intent to affect the testimony of such person. Tampering
with a witness in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor.
2) "Please let us know": That would require city employees to divulge information asked of them, in private, by investigators conducting an on-going investigation. Under what authority is Mr. Pickup allowed to seek information from, or have access to, participants in this ongoing independent investigation?
3) "And we will address the situation": Oh, boy. Mr. Pickup was not allowed to address "this situation". The investigation. That is why the city council had to take it up. So why is he, and the city attorney, meddling with the investigation now?
Don't Know? He's on third. Who's on third? No, Who's on first. I Don't Know's on third.
CITY COUNCIL IN THE DARK
Multiple sources at city hall tell LD10580 that the memo authored by Mr. Pickup and Ms. Wilson was not vetted by the City Council, who were apparently unaware of its existence until it surfaced yesterday. It is believed, upon learning of the memo, various members of the council began working to correct any mischaracterizations conveyed to employees that may have been contained therein.