Hayward City Attorney Michael Lawson has confirmed on several past occasions that the documents were related to a personnel investigation that emerged when City Manager Kelly McAdoo placed Stuart on administrative leave in late August. Citing state law privacy protections for law enforcement officials, the city has refused to make the findings of that personnel investigation public.
The release of city payment records was also delayed due to the investigation of the former chief, and on Nov. 30, KQED filed a legal petition in Alameda County Superior Court seeking an order to compel Hayward to release the documents. Two weeks later, and five days before a deadline for the city's response in court, McAdoo announced the chief's immediate retirement. A few hours later, Hayward released 269 pages of purchase orders, check runs and agreements with Diane Stuart's husband -- Clark D. Stuart II -- and one of his companies, Trident Professionals.
Diane Stuart, formerly Diane Urban, appears to have married Clark Stuart in late Spring of this year. While the documents Hayward released raise questions about oversight of city spending and the Police Department's role, it's unclear what part, if any, Diane Stuart played in securing the business deals for her husband.
But former Hayward employees required to take Clark Stuart's "effective executive communication" course questioned its relevance, as well as the city's motivation for sending civil engineers, IT employees, librarians and maintenance staff to a public speaking class generally offered to law enforcement.
Another former Hayward employee said he was fired for questioning the class and raising concerns about the personal identifying information he was required to provide on the first day of the course.
"It was billed as communications, but it wasn’t even that. It was really public speaking," the former Hayward employee said of his experience in the course. He asked not to be identified by name because it could jeopardize his search for other job opportunities. He said he worked for Hayward beginning in January 2015 and lasted only a couple of months, which was verified by state public employee salary records and other former Hayward employees.
"You're getting up there and he records you on videotape and then he critiques you," the terminated employee said. "It’s really like salesmanship. I don’t know why did he consider himself now an expert in giving speeches. In my job I’m not required to do that -- and even if I did, it’s engineering, it’s different. It has nothing to do with salesmanship. That’s what that class was geared toward. But he obviously convinced these people that they needed this class."
The Hayward employees required to attend Stuart's class at the Hayward Police Department grew over the years, starting with senior department management in 2011. By the time Christensen took the course a few years later, it included maintenance staff.
"I was surprised at that initially because it wasn’t executive staff or managers from maintenance services, it was landscapers and laborers," Christensen said.
The records Hayward provided may still be incomplete, as they do not contain documentation of other agreements between Hayward and other Clark Stuart companies, Global Trident and Global Trident II. Publicly available documents through Hayward's website show agreements with Global Trident II in late 2011 and early 2012, but it's unclear if the city paid Stuart for that work.
Attempts to reach Clark Stuart were unsuccessful. He told the East Bay Times’ Hayward Daily Review this week that he is "appalled by the stuff that’s going on with the City of Hayward," and that if the city released correspondence he and Diane Stuart authorized, "many of the issues about which the media continues to speculate would have been put to rest."
Diane Stuart's private attorneys responded to inquiries with a referral to a joint statement by McAdoo and Diane Stuart announcing the former chief's retirement Wednesday.
The city has utilized Trident professionals over the past year in order to provide a variety of training and professional development opportunities to staff ... In addition, Trident Professionals has conducted numerous executive communications training courses at the invitation of state and local public safety organizations for the befit of police command staff and officers around the State. ... At this time, the City would like to contract with Trident to provide additional training and professional development tailored specifically to the City organization. ... The first body of work under this agreement will include a substantial amount of training and facilitation with the City's Development Services department around customer service, communications, leadership from below, and team building. Staff anticipates the scope of this work to cost around $24,000.
In addition, Trident will be available for executive coaching with members of the senior staff on an as needed basis as assigned or approved by the City Manager. There will likely be other areas in the City where Trident's expertise around customer service, communications and team building will benefit the organization and the community. As such, staff is requesting authorization to enter into a two-year agreement with Trident with a not to exceed amount of $75,000 for the two-year period. This work will be separate from the course fees paid for individuals that participate in the basic executive communications classes that are open to enrollment from other public sector participants.
The city has paid Trident Professionals $91,998 since May 6, 2014. It had paid $67,250 to the company before that date. If those prior payments were the result of a contract, the city did not provide it.
"There was a lot of pressure on my work," Nguyen said about why he had taken an early retirement. "I may be burned out."
And he got some extra help until his subordinate was required to attend Clark Stuart's effective executive communications course, facilitated by the Hayward Police Department.
The former employee said he saw several red flags right away.
"They’re forcing me to go," he said. "Why is the City of Hayward police putting it on instead of the human resources department?"
Stuart's executive communication class was part of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training course catalog, meaning police officers could enroll to help maintain certification as California law enforcement officers. The 24-hour course lists the Hayward Police Department as "presenter," even when Stuart taught it to other police departments. He held it most recently in San Mateo on Nov. 7. No future classes were scheduled as of Dec. 15.
Employees were given approximately $500 from their city departments in checks made out to Trident Professionals, multiple former employees said. But the checks didn't go directly to Clark Stuart, and instead were processed through the Hayward Police Department.
Then, three former city employees said, they were asked to fill out a form with identifying information, like their Social Security number and date of birth.
"I said to myself, 'I’m not going to fill this out. What does my personal information have anything to do with this class?' " the fired employee said. "He was data mining on top of it."
He said after he objected, he was told filling out the form was required, so he put in fake information and misspelled his last name. He provided KQED a copy of the form.
The next day, he said, his boss pulled him out of Stuart's class.
“She shows up to the police station and only said to me that I just saved her a trip upstairs,” he said. “That’s when the assistant director of our department, Stacey [Bristow], she hands me the termination letter, and I said, ‘What is this for?’ and she just shakes her head from side to side. She doesn’t tell me why or anything.’”
Nguyen said he never asked why his subordinate was terminated because he knew the city wasn't required to provide an explanation. The employee was still on a probationary period. Nguyen said he went back into retirement shortly after the episode.
Former Hayward assistant city planner Michael Christensen said he was "shocked" at the firing.
"He was doing very well," he said. "He was getting along with other members of staff. There were absolutely no red flags in my mind that would warrant any disciplinary action, let alone an immediate termination."
Ted Goldberg of KQED News contributed to this report.