Three months following the hiring of a special investigator to look into undisclosed issues regarding former Tulare Police Chief Wes Hensley, as well as Capt. Fred Ynclan and Lt. Jerod Boatman, the city’s attorneys have released a copy of the contract confirming the investigator to be former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness.
McGinness, currently a news host on NewsRadio KFBK in Sacramento, was hired on January 19 to investigate each of the three men. Hensley had been on paid administrative leave since September 27, 2017; Ynchlan and Boatman since the first week of November. While the investigations into each of the three were said to be separate issues, each fell under the same contract. The contract, itself, does not specify just who was under investigation, but was sent to the Valley Voice on April 24 in response to a February 2 public information request. A previous response had stated –
”The City has completed its search for responsive records. The City asserts that the contract between the City and the investigator hired for a confidential personnel investigation is exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, and therefore will not be produced by the City of Tulare.”
The April 24 email said –
“As stated below, the City of Tulare previously agreed to provide the contract between the City and the investigator hired for various confidential personnel investigations at such time as its disclosure became appropriate. Attached hereto is the only contract between the City and the investigator, responsive to your Public Records Act requests below.”
Why now is “the appropriate time” to release the information is unclear.
Under contract, McGinness has been paid $150/hour for his investigation. The investigation into Hensley was terminated upon his firing on March 20; the investigations into Ynclan and Boatman may still be ongoing. Interim police chief, Barry Jones, said he has not yet received a report.
Hensley’s termination was alleged to be “without cause” – a stipulation within his at-will contract allowed for that. In his termination letter, former Tulare City Manager Joe Carlini stated –
“You are not being dismissed from employment as the result of misconduct.
You are being dismissed to further the goals of this Organization, due to a loss of confidence in your ability to lead the Police Department in a manner that is consistent with the goals of this Organization; having management style that is incompatible with this Organization’s/Administration’s goals and the philosophies of leadership upon which they are based.
The City thanks you for your many years of service to the City of Tulare.”
Hensley had worked in the Tulare Police Department for 27 years. He was promoted to chief in November, 2015.
Questions remain. Since Hensley was on paid administrative leave and under formal investigation, why was he let go “without cause?” And, why did the city pay for him to sit on administrative leave for nearly six months and pay for an investigation into his conduct, if the city manager was going to let him go without cause? His firing came just hours prior to Tulare’s city council firing of Carlini.
The Hensley firing remains intact. His attorney, Michael Lampe, continues to seek a public hearing in the matter, as he and Hensley feel Hensley deserves. Lampe said he had no further comment at this time.
Questions also remain for Ynclan and Boatman, who have stayed quiet thus far during their leave and investigation. Unlike Hensley, they could only be fired for just cause. Interim Police Chief Jones said a determination upon whether there will be any discipline issued to either man will depend upon the investigator’s report.