Upland seal

The Sentinel

By Mark Gutglueck
Posted on February 27, 2015

I have received some information on the down-low which indicates that the goings-on, or at least past goings-on, at Upland City Hall are being given a very close examination…

The information I have is sketchy, having originated with a partially heard conversation between two people obviously in the know. I’ve tried to fill in the gaps as best I could, but obviously there are some details that yet elude me…

It seems that late last summer, Upland’s then-executive assistant to the city manager, Annette Guthrie, fell under suspicion of having done work on the political campaigns of two of the city’s incumbent city council members who were then vying for reelection, Gino Filippi and Debbi Stone. Miss Guthrie was put under watch, and when some actions that might have otherwise seemed benign occurred, those moves were interpreted as vindicating the initial suspicions. This then formed the basis for placing her on administrative leave on August 26 and ratcheting up the investigation, which included examining in some depth her internal city emails and her phone calls logs…

I have no inkling of what the phone logs turned up, but apparently the email exchanges she had with a whole host of individuals were very telling, essentially indicating that she was carrying out various tasks related to political campaigns, including gathering information valuable thereto. Additionally, it has been hinted at, there were other exchanges relating to matters that alarmed those reading the emails…

With this information in hand, higher city officials moved to get her out of her executive assistant position. At that point, Ms. Guthrie threatened to lodge a sexual harassment suit against the city. There ensued a negotiation process in which then-city attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow, who is with the law firm of Jones Mayer, became involved. A separation agreement was worked out in which she officially left the city’s employ as of September 22 and was given a $50,000 severance…

Ms. Barlow had discouraged any further action with regard to the matter and considered it closed. However, less than two months later she found herself excused from the city attorney’s position because of some too-strong language she put in a letter to the Colonies Partners over the ten-year expiration of a timetable to develop some property. With Barlow gone, members of the council again took up the issue of the political activity on the part of the former city staff member during the election and the other issues discovered in Miss Guthrie’s emails. They began to pressure Ms. Barlow’s successor, Richard Adams, also of the Jones Mayer firm, to look into it. Adams begged off, and instead had Los Angeles-based Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, a public sector employment and labor law firm representing management in labor and employment matters, scrutinize the known facts…

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