Amid grumblings, Alameda will evaluate city manager’s performance in closed session

Alameda City Manager
Jill Keimach


There’s a curious closed session item Tuesday night on the Alameda City Council’s agenda, an evaluation of City Manager Jill Keimach. Curious because her annual performance review isn’t until next March.

Sources at City Hall, including council members, won’t say why they are chatting about Keimach in closed session Tuesday evening, but there has been a very noticeable uptick in complaints about her in just the past few weeks.
The grumblings, incidentally, are not only coming from City Hall but also from the city’s powerful public employee unions, a bad sign for any person or entity in Alameda politics.
The discontent may have surrounded the contaminated water scare last week at the former naval air station. The emergency left businesses and a number of families without water to drink or bathe for about about five days. The community advisory was finally lifted last Friday.
Whether an action directed by the city administration led to the cross-contamination of water pipes at Alameda Point is unclear, but some charged Keimach with being AWOL during the crisis. 
Keimach, along with Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, were in Sacramento at the time for the League of California Cities Conference on Sept. 13-15.
Keimach was hired in March 2016 after a stint as town manager in Moraga. 
Although it is unlikely that Keimach’s job is in jeopardy, because, among other resason, her removal would hand Spencer a major re-election talking point next year, a situation the island’s progressives would rather not create.
Recall, it was Spencer who vehemently opposed hiring Keimach, saying in open session that she was not qualified for the job. Spencer ended up voting against hiring Keimach, a highly unusual move in local politics when most council’s tend to render unanimous votes in support of an incoming city manager.

Categories: Alameda, Alameda City Council, Alameda naval air station, Alameda Point, city manager, Jill Keimach, League of Calif Cities, Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Trish Spencer, water crisis

8 replies

  1. By MW:

    I found the last paragraph interesting, in other words the statement that usually in our local area the various city councils when voting to hire a particular person to be the City Manager for their municipality do so by unanimous vote.

    That would mean that if for instance a particular city council has five members and one of the five has a much stronger personality than any of the others and/or generally acts as the group's leader, in other words someone similar to a Willie Brown or a Nate Miley, all Mr. Pushy Bigmouth has to do is get just one of the remaining four to agree to go along with him, and then very likely the remaining three will also one by one fold and go along and finally make it unanimous.

    In fact, it sounds similar to how Nate Miley most likely recently got his stooges and puppets on a string on the AC Board of Supervisors to make it unanimous in voting to approve medical marijuana clinics.

    Or as one person said at a few months ago at a public meeting I was at, the various board meetings should not have public disagreements, but instead should present a united front.



  2. By MW:

    In my above post, the second line of the next to last paragraph should read:

    the various board MEMBERS should not have…


  3. Spencer can be overly blunt about her opinions, but she called this one right.


  4. Powerful public employee union (read Fire) is upset and the union has 2 flunkies on the City Council – no surprise Keimach is being scrutinized. If Keimach is upsetting the Fire union and their flunkies then she is doing something right.


  5. By MW:

    Related to the post of 6:07AM, regardless of whether or not Keimach was or is a good choice for City Manager, there was a much bigger issue at stake.

    And that is before having the official and ON THE RECORD VOTE FOR CITY MANAGER, AND ALSO ANY OTHER MAJOR ITEM, first they should have a secret, unofficial, illegal, AND OFF THE RECORD, vote to see where each of the big boys stand, and to see if they can find a way to in advance put the fix in. And so that way whatever they do in the official and on the record meeting is done by unanimous vote, and so that way all of the little people can be kept brainwashed and also dazzled by the “brilliance” of the big boys.

    For instance, the California Public Utilities Commission, and which is commonly referred to as the CPUC, has been repeatedly even caught printing the transcripts of its public meetings before those meetings even took place. So in other words those legally required public meetings to set utility rates are generally nothing more than just window dressing for what are already prearranged fixes.

    And such things are extremely common in government. For instance, the primary real function of a high percentage of the “smartest,” most politically connected, and highest paid lawyers is providing under the table bribes to judges, regulators, mayors, members of city councils and zoning boards and so forth, and also the employees of fire departments who pretend to investigate suspicious fires, and who then, and as a result of receiving those under the table bribes, declare that the fire was caused by bad luck rather than arson.

    While the above is very common all over, however it is even much more common in the Bay area, since the Bay area is the world's capital and headquarters for the illegal backroom fix in exchange for the under the table bribe.


  6. By MW:

    To emphasize and expand the point I made in my previous post, there are all sorts of boards and commissions that are required by law to have open to the public hearings before they take certain actions.

    However it is extremely common, and especially in the Bay area, for those boards and commissions to first have secret, illegal, and off the record meetings to get everything scripted, prearranged, and decided, and then which are, of course, followed by the window dressing of the legally required open to the public hearing at which the big boys pretend to make their decisions.

    As you may have noticed, once in awhile a newspaper will print a special guest column by a retired reporter. And some years ago a major Bay area newspaper printed such an article by a retired reporter who had previously worked for it. In his article he discussed the fact that back when he was still employed fulltime as a reporter, he had regularly attended the secret, illegal, and off the record meetings that the City Council of a certain major South Bay city had as standard procedure before the official, legally required, and open to the public meeting.

    He discussed the fact that at those SECRET AND ILLEGAL pre-meetings, and which took place before the official and open to the public meeting, the various big boys in that city's government got everything scripted and arranged, and including which questions they would ask and what their final decisions would be.

    In other words, very often the legally required open to the public meeting is nothing more than a scripted, prearranged, and choreographed stage show.

    And as to the “quality” of our local politicians, they are the very best that money can buy.


  7. Keimach is such a hypocrite. She doesn't live in Alameda and was away at a conference during the crisis. She then has the gall to pen an opinion piece in the local paper, “Alameda Stands United.”
    The town she managed previously is a financial basket case, yet she now earns over $400,000 a year in Alameda in salary and benefits.

    Sounds like your Trish Spencer is the only one on the council who has her head screwed on right.


  8. Dont be fooled. This is plain and simple retaliation for Kiemack not cozying up to the firefighters union and their choice for a new fire chief. Guess who just retired – Chief Doug Long. The firefighters want their man to be the next Chief (Domamick Weaver – former firefighter union President). and its no secret that if Keimack doesn't pick him, councilmen Oddie and Vella will fire her. What's wrong with that? Then who is minding the store, looking after the best interest of the ENTIRE city??!! Honestly, why don't they just hire Weaver (or better yet Delbono – the current union president) to be the City Manager, then there won't be any more fights (and cops and parks can beg for the left over scraps.) And yes, it will be 1950s style cronyism government once again. Wake up Alameda, you've seen this bad movie before.


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