Tim Farley’s 4CD resignation stopped a sexual harassment investigation


Danny Yoeono

Tim Farley at Saint Marys College taken Nov. 15 2017.

Danny Yoeono, Assistant editor

A sexual harassment investigation into former Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board President Tim Farley halted when he resigned last month.

The investigation was sparked by an anonymous, 486 word, memo which was dated Jan. 24 and sent to all the District Governing Board Trustees, Chancellor Fred Wood and to the district’s human resources department.

The memo brought to light sexual harassment allegations against Farley who was president of the governing board at the time the memo was sent.

Current district governing board vice-president Gary Walker-Roberts confirmed the district was aware of the memo but he found out after Farley resigned.

In a recorded interview, Farley said, “…I hear there’s an anonymous letter but I don’t give any credence to that… I have some personal family matters that I am dealing with and that is why I had to leave.”

Current governing board President John Marquez denied receiving any letter and said he wouldn’t comment on anything that was discussed in closed session.

He also said he does not believe in rumors and he was disappointed Farley resigned.

That memo was mailed to the Inquirer in a red envelope that was addressed and return addressed to the Inquirer newsroom where it was received March 19.

Attached was a copy of Farley’s resignation letter and a note in a different font from the memo that said, “Thought you should know,” and gave the tip about the investigation.

The smaller note was still anonymous.

The memo pointed to a specific event at “conference in Monterey, California,” where Farley would have been acting as a representative of the district.

Historical agendas and minutes of the district governing board show a conference matching that description, the 2015 Annual Trustees Conference that took place at the Monterey Hyatt-Regency from May 1-3.

According to Walker-Roberts, this was the conference in Monterey the memo refers to.

There, according to the memo, “Tim (Farley) behaved inappropriately, and has allegedly acted in a sexually aggressive way toward a woman at the conference in front of many witnesses.”

The writer of the memo, who claimed to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation,  said they were a district employee who had heard rumors about Farley’s allegations through the word of mouth around the office.

“I have heard people talking negatively about the district because of this situation, and I believe it warrants an investigation,” reads the memo.

According to Walker-Roberts, a preliminary investigation was started within district human resources.

“The (anonymous) letter triggered everything,” said Walker-Roberts.

The preliminary investigation stopped when Farley sent the then vice president of the district governing board, John Marquez, his resignation letter on Feb. 26, though the board didn’t announce the resignation until two days later.

In the resignation letter, Farley cites the reason for resignation as a “pressing personal family matter that requires my immediate attention.”

With his resignation, the investigation into Farley and the allegations noted in the memo ended so it never came to a vote of the board to conduct an outside investigation and the internal investigation did not come to any conclusions.

No one has gone on the record to confirm any sexual harassment allegations against Farley.

Even late in the anonymous memo it is written, “I hope, for the sake of all parties involved, that these rumors are not true.”

Farley also said in his comment, “Anonymous letters, rumors, I don’t have time for that.”

In the memo, a second member of the governing board is said to have saw the 2015 Monterey preceding mentioned.

“…It has been brought to my attention that a second board member witnessed the behavior and has not come forward to address the inexcusable behavior of Tim Farley,” said the anonymous source of the memo.

The allegation that another trustee knew about the said behavior at the conference before the memo has not been confirmed.

John Marquez confirmed that Tim Farley was indeed at the conference, along with trustees Greg Enholm, Vicki Gordon and the late John Nejedly.

Marquez did not attend the conference.

Enholm has said that at the time of the conference, because Farley was new to the board, having just been elected in Nov. 2014, the two would have spent a lot of time together and he “was basically Farley’s guide.”

Enholm was the second newest member of the governing board at that time.

He suggested the Inquirer speak to the Chancellor Wood.

When asked about the preliminary investigation Farley said, “Those questions should go to the chancellor’s office.”

Chancellor Wood’s office said they would call back when the Inquirer contacted them on March 22 but as of publication they have not responded.

District spokesperson Tim Leong, in a phone call, denied knowledge of the memo and that he would like to see the memo before commenting on it.

District governing board secretary Vicki Gordon said she had no comment for this story.

Farley was elected in 1990 and served two terms on the Martinez city council.

In 1996, Congressman George Miller appointed Farley to the U.S. Presidential Electoral College.

The public under is entitled to see any documents relating to a complaint against a public figure, like locally elected trustee Farley, within an government agency, like the district according the California Public Records Act.

The public is especially privy to that complaint if the allegation in question was in the course of his duties, like acting as a trustee, instead of as a private person.

A public records request has been submitted to the district office for the memo along with any results of the preliminary investigation.

Editor’s note: The highlights on the copy of the memo sent to the Inquirer were done by Inquirer staff. 

An earlier version of this article noted that Trustee Walker-Roberts was aware of the memo by the end of the January. It has been reflected to note he was made aware after Farley resigned from the board.