Local News

Tuesday, Jun 10 2014 11:00 AM

Tandy investigation stems from ice center incident

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    By Casey Christie/The Californian

    In this 2004 photo, Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy plays ice hockey on his lunch break at what's now called the San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center. “I suspect Alan approaches hockey like he approaches everything in his life, which is with a bit of intensity,” said teammate John Genter. “He’s very, very dependable. ... When he gets his shift (in a game), he’s going to give you everything he’s got.”

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

The alleged assault for which Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy is being investigated occurred at the San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center over the weekend, City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said Tuesday.

The incident was related to hockey, Gennaro said, and was captured by five Ice Center cameras.

“... it is my understanding that the city manager was involved in an incident at the ice arena over the weekend. I know that Alan Tandy is a fan of hockey and I know that he’s on some type of hockey team,” Gennaro said. “My understanding is that it happened on Sunday but I can’t confirm that for you.”

Asked when during play the incident occurred, Gennaro said: “My understanding is that people were still wearing ice skates,” adding she was not certain “whether it’s during the middle of the game (or) the end of the game.”

Tandy is a hockey fan and player for the adult amateur team, the Bakersfield Blues.

Gennaro, however, said she could not confirm that.

“My understanding is that there was an allegation of an assault. And that’s what I know,” Gennaro said. “There is an allegation that the reporting party did have an injury.”

Gennaro said she could not confirm details on the identity of the injured person, or the extent of his or her injuries.

Tandy wasn’t the only city staffer involved. One of his three subordinates, Assistant to the City Manager Chris Huot, was also present, the city attorney confirmed.

“It is my understanding that Mr. Huot is part of this incident,” Gennaro said. “I don’t know or have an understanding as to what his role is.”

In a telephone interview, Huot declined to discuss the incident.

“I don’t have any comment at this point, so I’m just going to reserve comment until a time at which I can comment to you,” said Huot, who wouldn’t say whether he had hired a lawyer.

Asked whether he had been contacted by investigators from the Bakersfield Police Department or the Kern County District Attorney’s office, Huot said: “At this point, I’m not going to disclose who I’ve been contacted by or not contacted by.”

Bakersfield Solid Waste Superintendent Sal Moretti said he and Tandy were on the ice Sunday with the Blues, for a 3:45 p.m. game against the Bears, another league team. But Moretti said he didn’t see anything resembling a fight.

“That’s correct. There was no fight, there was a very hockey-related incident I did not see,” Moretti said, adding none of the Blues was fighting.

There was no comment on the investigation Tuesday from Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green’s office.

Ice Center Director Scott Hay and Hockey Director Paul Willett declined to comment — or to release the Blues’ team roster or last week’s center schedule.

The county’s Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford said the district attorney’s office will issue a press release when its investigation is complete, and upon review of that investigation, it will “decide what steps to take.”

On Monday, Green said the case was referred to her office by Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson to avoid a conflict of interest, and she assigned two investigators to it.

The city manager oversees Bakersfield’s police department.

Reached on his cellphone Monday evening, Tandy declined to discuss the incident, saying he couldn’t talk to a reporter then.

Contacted via cell on Tuesday, Tandy said only: “My circumstances haven’t changed. It’s the same thing as previously.”

The incident’s exact origins are murky, but Bakersfield police Lt. Joe Mullins said BPD officers responded around 9 p.m. Sunday to a report of “an incident” at the Ice Center.

“ ... we responded to an incident there and we are investigating,” Mullins said in an interview Monday night. “All I can say is, officers have taken a report.”

On Tuesday morning, Bakersfield police Sgt. Joe Grubbs, the department spokesman, referred a reporter to Gennaro.

Gennaro said she learned of the matter Monday morning when Williamson called her.

“Based upon that discussion, I came to the conclusion that given the potential for a conflict of interest, it was in the best interest of the city to turn the matter over to an outside agency for investigation, such as the district attorney’s office,” Gennaro said, describing such an arrangement as “not common but it’s not unusual.”

Coincidentally, Tandy is currently in the midst of his annual performance review by the Bakersfield City Council.

The council began the evaluation in closed session at its June 4 meeting but ran out of time.
It is expected to continue the matter at its June 25 meeting, and several council members contacted by The Californian said they will reserve judgment.

“I think until we know more about what actually happened, Mr. Tandy deserves every right to continue doing what he does best, and that’s running the city,” said Ward 1 Councilman Willie Rivera.

Ward 6 Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan praised Tandy and urged caution.

“We certainly, the council — we need to wait to hear what the investigation reveals before we make any judgment,” Sullivan said.

 

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