Nov 092011

Did the City Attorney collude with DeWayne Stancill to erase history and defraud CalPERS?

Last week, news of the settlement between the City of San Leandro and former SLPD officer DeWayne Stancill hit the airwaves.  Stancill had been fired from the SLPD after he complained of racial harassment, following accusations of sexually harassing female officers.  The reasons given for Stancill’s firing were unrelated, but they also didn’t seem solid.  Stancill sued the city for wrongful termination, and last January the city settled.

It’s the elements of the settlement (posted below) which I find disturbing:

– The city agreed to pay Stancill $135,000 (plus attorneys fees), but only if he provided a doctor’s note saying that he had been injured in the course of duty.  Those $135,000 would then be considered compensation for those injuries.

– Stancill was to be reinstated into the SLPD, without pay, so that he could then apply for an “Industrial Disability Retirement” from CalPERS.

– If CalPERS did not grant Stancill a disability pension, then the settlement agreement was void.

Also, as part of the settlement agreement:

– The city agreed to exonerate Stancill

– The city agreed to destroy all documents related to Stancill’s demotion from Sergeant and firing, including the termination letters and the investigation reports leading to those actions and all documents regarding the sexual harassment claims against Stancill, including the Estrin report, among others.

– The city would replace the memorandum detailing the reasons why Stancill should be demoted with a form that just says that his probationary period had ended.  It’s not clear to me whether that form was created in 2009, or was created for the settlement and backdated to 2009.  The latter would seem fraudulent to me.

If Stancill did  not get the disability retirement, however, this part of the settlement would also be void.  That meant that Stancill would not have been exonerated.

Now, this may all be perfectly legal, but it seems terribly unethical to me.  Either Stancill was injured during his tenure or not. If he was, he should pursue those issues with CalPERS independently of this lawsuit.  If he wasn’t, the city should not conspire with him to defraud CalPERS.

Similarly, either Stancill committed the acts for which he was demoted and fired, or not.  If he did, the city should not lie and exonerate him, much less destroy all the information about his misconduct.  If he didn’t commit those acts, he should be exonerated regardless of whether he has a doctor’s note documenting his disability.  Again, those things should be independent.  Moreover, it’s deeply disturbing that the city agreed to destroy the documents about the sexual harassment of the female officers, thus deleting a piece of SLPD history that should not be forgotten.  Now, unethical agreements like this are filed every day, but I wished our City would be not be that sleazy.  I am sure that this settlement is the brainchild of Meyers Nave, the firm that represents the City, but it had to be approved by the City Council.

Settlement Agreement between DeWayne Stancill & the City of San Leandro


  5 Responses to “Deleting the Record: the Stancill Settlement”

  1. Marga, well stated and accurate. It is unethical at the least and the actions promulgated by the City, the Union and all of the participants are at best shameful and at the worst are the best example of what is wrong with entitlements. The people are being ripped off by all of the players. If the mayor, council persons and city manager really took their responsibilities seriously they would support investigations of everyone involved. They all are awful people. Imagine what the Jason Fredericksson file looks like. And that one is on Chief Spagnoli’s watch. Bet there will be no action at all on any of this.

  2. This is VERY strange; Who in City government will stand up and explain this?? Mr. Cassidy?

  3. FYI, the settlement agreement with Stancill was approved in December 2010, so two of the current members of the San Leandro City Council were not part of the approval.

    The decision to settle is usually a cost/benefit analysis: Will it cost more to litigate or settle? That is usually an educated guess. The other terms of the settlement, however, raise many questions, including destruction of documents, though I think that they are only required to be retained for two years, and it has been more than two years for most of the documents.

    • You are right, settlement is a cost/benefit analysis. But San Leandro has a history of not settling cases it thinks (however erroneously) that it can win. It hasn’t been willing to settle the Faith Fellowship case, even when it’s clear that they are going to lose big time in court. They did not settle the lawsuit by Officer Trujillo on sexual harassment (Trujillo lost at trial), and they didn’t settle another lawsuit against Mike Sobek, which the City also won. So in the case of San Leandro I think they settle lawsuits when they really think they have no other choice.

      But the more interesting part is /how/ they settle. It wasn’t for an amount of money, but it was for a pension – which will be paid by CalPERS. That’s just fishy. And you’d think if the documents would be destroyed in the normal course of business, the settlement would not need to specify their destruction.

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