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Former Planning Director Files Whistleblower Lawsuit; Council to Discuss Weds Evening

Although being conducted in a closed session (as is customary with legal matters and litigation), the Town Council on Wednesday evening will be meeting to discuss a whistleblower lawsuit that has been filed by former Planning Director Derek Farmer.

Farmer was hired as a Senior Planner in mid-2017 and soon thereafter became Acting Planning Director; just a few months later in March 2018, he was promoted to Planning Director.

In essence, Farmer contends that he was terminated after objecting to unlawful interference by the Town Manager related to planning department activities, staff reports & recommendations being reviewed by the Planning Commission, and modifications to items after the Planning Commission had reviewed them. This includes allegations of at least two instances of the Town Manager seeking changes to Muni Code amendments after the Planning Commission had voted on them and two other instances associated with use permits for the Canyon Club outdoor tent (approved) and a temporary outdoor tent sought by Bay Area Ballplayers that had already been constructed behind Safeway (not approved). Farmer was terminated within days of the Planning Commission meeting on the latter.

In addition to claiming he was unlawfully terminated, Farmer also claims he was denied reasonable time (one hour) to review a separation/severance agreement and that he did not receive his final paycheck as required by law.

At the time he was terminated, it was pretty clear that Farmer's dismissal was a result of something that occurred with respect to the Bay Area Ballplayers tent, though it was unclear whether it was because he recommended approval in the initially-released staff report or disapproval in a mysterious 11th-hour revision (the initial staff report was pulled from the Town's website and replaced with a revision over the weekend, immediately preceding the Planning Commission meeting). It now appears the former is the case.

The lawsuit/complaint as filed is below.

Farmer Lawsuit
Download PDF • 1.67MB


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