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.