RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — A Richmond city employee is speaking out about blowing the whistle on the Assistant City Manager. Meanwhile, more city workers have come forward, accusing the top city official of retaliation.
A city ordered investigation recently concluded Assistant City Manager Leslie Knight violated a number of city policies.
Stacie Plummer told KPIX 5 she has paid the price since she blew the whistle on her boss. In four years, Plummer said she had four job transfers, four title changes, and her email account was hacked.
“Tense is a good word, because people are afraid to be seen with me because if she sees them then we are potentially in cahoots, we’re allies,” Plummer said.
Allegations of misappropriation of funds, embezzlement and grand theft are still being investigated by the District Attorney’s office. While the FBI will not confirm cases, Plummer said she has met with agents.
An independent investigation concluded Knight was driving a city car while also taking a city stipend for a personal car. The report also said Knight ran her side business making trinkets inside city offices, and even used city subordinates to work for her. Plummer said she became a victim of retaliation when she refused to participate.
Others contend the city investigation was incomplete because key witnesses wouldn’t talk. “They can’t come forward because they are afraid of the retaliation,” said Ray Dryer, a Richmond city employee.
Plummer is no longer the only one making claims of retaliation by Knight, who is also the Human Resources Director.
“The city manager has allowed Ms. Knight to get away with intimidation, bullying, not even holding her to the same standards as any of our other members,” Dryer said.
City Manager Bill Lindsay said the outside investigator found no truth to those claims. “Any wrongdoing for harassment or retaliation or I don’t even think the word bullying was used in the complaint…she concluded they were all unfounded,” he said.
Lindsay also said employees are protected. “We really do a very good job investigating complaints and that’s why I think employees can feel they are really protected they really are listened to,” he said.
Plummer showed KPIX 5 an email from a city council member saying if the City Manager does not fire Knight, the council will try to force the issue.
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, along with councilmember Jovanka Beckles, plan to introduce a resolution calling for the firing of the Assistant City Manger if she still has her job by the next council meeting in April.
Plummer believes those who make the rules cannot break them. And after 26 years with the city, she cannot back down.
“How do you just turn your back on your community and family and friends and church and your teachers? How do you do that? That’s not how I was raised. So I stop when it’s done,” Plummer said.
Neither Knight nor her attorney responded to KPIX 5’s request for comment Tuesday.
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