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City releases findings of outside investigation

February 9, 2021

In 2020, two high-profile City employees filed complaints against one another alleging violations of the City's anti-harassment, discrimination and retaliation policy. An outside firm was hired to investigate these complaints and has concluded their investigation and report. Gresham City Council, recognizing that transparency is essential to rebuilding trust within the organization and the community, voted to waive attorney-client privilege and release the full report to the public. The full report can be found below.

In June 2020, Gresham Deputy City Manager Corey Falls filed a formal complaint against Police Chief Robin Sells and the now-former City Manager alleging violations of the City’s anti-harassment, discrimination and retaliation policy. Police Chief Sells then filed her own complaint against Falls and formerly employed individuals in the City Manager’s Office alleging violations of the same policy. The City hired Paula Barran, Partner at Barran Liebman LLP, to conduct an outside investigation of the conduct alleged in the complaints. As the allegations referenced two high-priority Council-directed projects, the City asked Barran to also investigate why the 21st Century Policing and Equity and Inclusion projects were not fully implemented. The report, spanning more than 100 pages plus nearly 90 pages of exhibits, represents the culmination of Barran’s investigation.

Interim City Manager David Clyne is assessing next steps both organizationally and relative to any corrective actions that are warranted by the investigation findings. We anticipate providing more information over time regarding organizational changes that may be implemented, but due to privacy issues, will not likely be commenting further on any personnel actions that may be taken.

Regarding the status of the two projects covered in the investigation, Gresham City Council is currently engaged with diversity, equity and inclusion work. In December, Dr. James Mason with OCCAT was hired to conduct an organizational assessment and recommend actions the City could take to implement an equity program. In addition, this spring, Council is working with Dr. Mason to set clear citywide priorities to guide the City’s equity efforts. Council is also discussing how best to involve the community in discussions around public safety strategies, with the goal of building trust and ensuring public safety services are transparent, equitable and contribute to a sense of safety for all community members.

Full investigation report

Investigation exhibits

Contact information for news media:

Elizabeth Coffey, Communications Director
office: 503-618-2247
cell: 503-793-4167
Elizabeth.Coffey@GreshamOregon.gov