Just Released Documents Detail Alleged Wrongdoing by Former Milpitas City Manager

We’re learning more about the controversies surrounding former Milpitas City Manager Tom Williams.

The First Amendment Coalition announced Friday that the city of Milpitas released a trove of documents relating to the alleged misconduct of a former Milpitas city manager just one day before a court hearing on the matter.

The coalition said the documents show that peers of former Milpitas City Manager Tom Williams filed complaints that he made "intentional false accusations" against a city employee, that he "routinely curses, yells, belittles and intimidates" staff and established "an environment of fear, anxiety and suppression of staff opinion."

The city released the documents - 109 pages which are available online - one day before the hearing was set to take place in Santa Clara Superior Court on Thursday, the coalition said. The coalition had requested the documents from the city in May and sued for them under the California Public Records Act on June 2.

This case is so involved that we’ve decided to develop a partial timeline of events.

2006: Tom Williams becomes city manager.

2015: San Jose Inside reports that Williams’ “toxic” behavior has led to rapid turnover at City Hall. The San Jose Inside investigation is prompted by the abrupt departure of the city’s planning chief Steve McHarris. We now know that McHarris left because of what he calls an ‘abusive’ environment created by Williams.

Dec. 2016: Rich Tran, 31, becomes mayor. Almost immediately, he begins criticizing Williams in public and calling for investigations.

April 2017: Milpitas City Attorney Chris Diaz warns that any public discussion of Williams’ job performance could put the city in legal jeopardy. With his calls for a public evaluation rebuffed, Tran says he wants an independent third party to investigate the city manager’s job performance.

April 13, 2017: Williams threatens to sue Mayor Rich Tran, alleging harassment and age discrimination. “I need to mix it up with some younger people around here, people that look more like me,” the mayor had allegedly told Williams.

May 2017: Williams is placed on administrative leave for reportedly using taxpayer funds to foot personal legal bills in his pursuit of Mayor Rich Tran. An investigation is now underway.

June 2, 2017: The First Amendment Coalition files suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court to procure the release of documents pertaining to Tom Williams’ job performance, his alleged misuse of the city credit card, and his claims of harassment and discrimination by Mayor Rich Tran.

June 13, 2017: San Jose Inside reports that this is not the first time Williams has engaged in questionable use of taxpayer money

Sept. of 2017: Williams resigns to avoid arbitration. The council had planned to fire him.

There are some stunning allegations contained in the documents that have just been released. We encourage you to check them out here

FAC Executive Director David Snyder stated the following in a press release Thursday: 

“These records should have been turned over five months ago, and it’s clear from the timing of the documents’ release—the night before a court hearing on FAC’s lawsuit—that the city’s original basis for withholding the records is indefensible.”


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