Early To Bed, Early To Avoid Transparency?

Dec. 29, 2011 | When the wheels of government roll in San Leandro, it is increasingly being fueled by multiple cups of early morning coffee.

Since San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy also holds a full-time job as a consumer lawyer in San Francisco, the city has been forced to schedule committee and public meetings in the early morning hours throughout the year and, recently, on weekends, including Sunday.

The City Council met at 8:30 a.m. on consecutive Sundays this month to discuss the hiring of a new city manager.

Some council members grumbled earlier this year when council committees including Cassidy were scheduled for odd times like 8:15 in the morning to accomodate the mayor.

Cassidy’s periodic “Coffee with the Mayor” events, a holdover from the previous mayor’s tenure, have also commenced in the early morning hours, mostly during the work week. The discussion are not highly attended and tend to skew sharply to older San Leandro residents.

The mayor’s busy personal schedule has also met concern from a growing number of community members who fault Cassidy for not keeping a consistent office schedule. In fact, it is rare to catch Cassidy in the mayor’s office anytime during the day, according to a member of the city staff. He is known to pop in from time-to-time, they say, after hours to catch up on work.

Cassidy’s absenteeism over the year runs counter to vociferious calls by the then-mayoral candidate to foster greater transparency in city government. Whether call has heeded, it is happening without him and in the hands of a two lame-duck city managers. The instability along with steep staff cuts over the past few years was seen as a factor in its finance director bailing ship for Hayward after just seven months.
The complaints have grown so numerous that Cassidy held a two-hour “Office Hour” from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. earlier this month to hear resident’s concerns in a one-on-one setting.

Cassidy’s lack of accesibility (some also contend he never responds to email) is a stark change from the way the city did business under the former mayor, who was retired. Tony Santos typically spent four hours a day in his office in the late morning and early afternoon. Residents could routiunely walk in chat with Santos at their leisure.

If anything, Santos spent too much time listening to residents. As a result, he frequently entered into email wars with detractors that often found themselves forwarded to the in-boxes of many around San Leandro.

Another city staff member said Cassidy is doing things different, but added, his few appearances at City Hall is definitely a stark change from previous mayors.

Categories: mayor, san leandro, Tony Santos, transparency

8 replies

  1. Perfect. The Mayor is a part-time position, not full time. Santos and the others were leeches at the trough. Cassidy is doing a great job as Mayor and you two dumb fools can't handle it.


  2. Really Tavares? Is this all you've got? Your style of journalism makes me yearn for Fractured Fairy Tales from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. At least those stories were somewhat entertaining.


  3. Did I write an article about myself? Then why are you talking to me in this forum. My email address is on the left hand side of the page.

    Everything here is factual.

    Is this what you want for your city? Is this what you expected? You can't say I didnt perfectly describe this mayor during the campaign.

    Instead of attacking me, describe what Cassidy has done this year? Tell me!


  4. The man didn't take a except a paycheck until the budget was balanced.
    How could he be more transparent? its pretty obvious that he's not trying to use his mayoral position to further any financial gain. If that were the case he wouldn't carry on with a full time job.

    how does it make you feel to criticize someone who is holding down 2 jobs when you, Steven are unemployed. Maybe you should taking notes instead of trying to tear him down.


  5. The budget was balanced before he took office, it has to be balanced every year by law.


  6. The Cassidy group, which for most part, doesn't even like the guy, but instead finds their inspiration in not liking Tony Santos.

    I'm amazed by how the people of San Leandro is either uninformed by their news outlets or refuse to care about their local government.

    Cassidy has wasted his first year. He still has three more. Since when is it the prevailing wisdom of communities to coddle their elected officials?

    The fact is that I've had my finger on the pulse of Cassidy way before he was mayor. I examined his reputation and personality and laid out how it would be difficult for him to succeed in the mayor's office. Those personality traits are the reason he stumbled and clashed with his colleagues. It's why San Leandro has not had a city manager for over a year–essentially leaderless during the worst recession in generations.

    Interesting stuff, I think, but if you want happy, shit stories, you have many viable outlets in San Leandro to read about them.


  7. Why did you move to Alameda Steven Tavares????


  8. Inspiration in not liking Tony Santos? He's a turd, no one likes his sorry ass.


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