Alameda city manager, in memo, alleges councilmembers illegally interfered in selection of fire chief

Alameda City Hall is again in upheaval after its city
manager alleged some councilmembers violated its
City Charter.

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach, in a memo sent to the City Council earlier this month, alleged that some elected city officials illegally pressured her to hire a union-backed candidate for the open fire chief position. Interference by councilmembers in the duties of the city manager is prohibited in the City Charter.

In a letter sent by Keimach to the council dated Oct. 2, the day before she tabbed Ed Rodriguez as fire chief, but sent on the day of the announcement, does not specifically name which city officials allegedly pressured Keimach to select Domenick Weaver, a former president of the Alameda International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 689. It does, however, make a number of serious allegations.

“The selection of our new Fire Chief should not be driven by unseemly political pressure,” wrote Keimach. “The pressure is explicitly prohibited by Alameda’s Charter Section 7-3, as pointed out by the city attorney. Our focus should be on the qualifications, interview and test results, and abilities of the candidate to do the best job for the City of Alameda.”

Keimach makes a series of allegations in the rougly three-page letter. She claims city elected officials communicated to her that there is three member of the council willing to terminate her employment, alleged other candidates for the fire chief position were threatened in effort for them to withdraw their applications.

In addition, Keimach references a “two-councilmember meeting” she attended where it was suggested the hiring of Weaver “would be in the best interest of labor peace.”

In an interview earlier this month, Keimach would not answer whether the allegations of interference were directed at specific councilmembers or even the City Council. Instead she simply referenced the City Charter code related to interference.

Keimach also claims the council purposefully delayed her annual review scheduled for last March in an effort to tie her selection of a fire chief to her evaluation, while also creating parameters for her duties that were untenable. Keimach was hired in March 2016 after a stint as Moraga town manager.

On Tuesday, the City Council is scheduled to meet again in closed session to discuss Keimach’s evaluation, and that of the city attorney and city clerk.

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