By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa City Hall beefed up its security measures Tuesday in response to the march, sending workers home at noon and canceling the City Council meeting scheduled to begin in closed session at 1 p.m. and resume at 3:30 p.m. for the public.
City officials had initially planned to lock the doors of city offices downtown starting at noon and to go forward with the City Council meeting.
But on Tuesday morning, top city officials huddled with Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm and decided that it would be safer to allow employees to go home at noon, Mayor Scott Bartley said.
And since the council meeting can’t take place without city employees, Bartley decided to cancel the meeting, as well, City Manager Kathy Millison said.
Some employees who work at City Hall worried that if the march posed enough of a risk to require the doors to be closed to the public, they might be at risk as they headed home for the day, as well, Bartley said.
“Better to err on the side of caution on this,” Bartley said.
Millison said she received some “new information” that “caused me concern for safety of employees at the City Hall campus.”
Millison said she learned of “hostile postings about the city on social media that raised concerns.”
She declined to release additional information about the troubling postings, saying the information “may be part of a follow-up investigation.” She could not say how many employees were impacted or what the cost to the city was. City workers were paid for the full day even though they went home at noon.
Bartley also declined to share the information that led to the additional precautionary measures.
“There were reasons we took the action that we did,” Bartley said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Councilman Gary Wysocky said he first learned that City Hall was closed when he showed up just before the 12 p.m. meeting of the city’s long-range subcommittee, which is open to the public.
Wysocky said he never understood the plan to lock out the public from city offices.
“I don’t know how that gets past first base,” Wysocky said. “How do you hold a public meeting when you are locking the doors?”