Actions taken by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in closed session over the past few weeks point toward the existence of potential allegations of workplace misconduct at the county-level. Exactly where, though, is unclear.

At the board’s Jan. 9 meeting, Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler announced the county supervisors voted in closed session to retain outside legal counsel “to conduct a workplace investigation in a confidential matter.”

The public disclosure followed a similar announcement at the Dec. 5 Board of Supervisors meeting that suggested potential litigation and investigation into an unknown matter. “The Board authorized the County Counsel to retain Counsel in connection with the potential threat of litigation, and also to retain an investigator to provide advice and investigation services in connection with that threat of litigation,” Ziegler said last month.

The decision to retain outside counsel to investigation an internal matter suggests the allegations are likely either against or include a member of the Board of Supervisors, their staff, or county counsel staff.

The focus of the investigation could also be related to the Alameda County’s Sheriff’s Office, which launched an internal investigation in late October after allegations were made that a sheriff’s deputy allowed an inmate to be assaulted at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. However, the known subject of that complaint was arrested Wednesday.

But, if indeed, the retention of outside counsel entails an internal investigation at the county board level, for instance, touching upon gender and power inequities in the work place, it would mark the East Bay’s first known public example in local politics of the #MeToo movement that has sparked national discussion over the past few months.