Alameda City Council approves independent probe into city manager’s interference claims

Over the shoulder of Assemblymember Rob
Bonta, Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer, Council-
members Malia Vella, Jim Oddie, and City 
Manager Jill Keimach duirng at a council
meeting Tuesday.

Accusations made by Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach earlier this month alleging interference in the selection of the city’s next fire chief will be investigated by an independent probe, the city announced Tuesday night.

The hiring of an independent investigator was unanimously approved by the Alameda City Council following its closed session meeting. During the same session, the council also postponed performance evaluations for Keimach, City Attorney Janet Kern and its city clerk that were scheduled for Tuesday, the city announced.

The scope of the independent probe is unclear, but the closed session report read following closed session indicates it will focus on Keimach’s allegations laid out in an Oct. 2 letter to the City Council and not specific councilmembers, two of which were named in an opinion column published last week by the East Bay Times.

The report out of closed references potential litigation arising from Keimach’s letter “which did not identify the mayor or any individual City Council members as being accused of potential wrongdoing.”

During a public comment period prior to the late Tuesday afternoon closed session, the traditional battle lines in Alameda politics were again delineated. Highlighted by varying anti-labor views, numerous speakers were concerned by the allegations made against Councilmembers Jim Oddie and Malia Vella by an East Bay Times columnist that they violated the City Charter by interferring with Keimach’s authority to choose its next fire chief.

The basis for the columnist’s call for both elected officials to be removed from office stemmed from comments made by Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri to the newspaper alleging Oddie threatened the city manager’s job if she did not select the fire union’s preferred candidate. The column, though, did not elaborate on evidence pointing to Vella’s involvement.

A number of union representatives, in addition to Assemblymember Rob Bonta, spoke in support of Oddie and Vella and said the baseline for the city manager’s allegations were attacks on progressives and the labor movement. “I think it’s a waste of time. This is a waste of money and I think it’s a waste of our progressive councilmembers time and energy,” said Gray Harris, member of the Alameda school board. “I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the city manager and I’m sure she’s heard them too.”

The postponement of Keimach’s job review, still pending since last March, is likely to also necessitate an outside review. The closed session report says the performance review issue will return, directing staff to “agendize assistance that may be needed to continue the evaluations” at its next meeting.

Categories: Alameda, Alameda City Council, closed session, independent investigation, interference, Janet Kern, Jill Keimach, Jim Oddie, Malia Vella, Paul Rolleri, Rob Bonta

10 replies

  1. Progressives would side with their constituents not the special interests.


  2. Corrupt politicians are the antithesis of progressivism. They wrap themselves in the progressive flag to hide their behavior.


  3. Small reminder to our readers: City Councilmember Jim Oddie, in whose behalf Assemblyman Bonta came to speak, is also Assemblyman Bonta's District Manager.


  4. By MW:

    The key question is whether it will be a truly independent and real investigation.

    Or whether it will be, and just like most Bay area investigations, a situation in which an “investigator” will be told in advance, and quietly and off the record, what the conclusion should be, and which would then most likely mean a scripted, choreographed, and prearranged “investigation,” in other words a lengthy. elaborate, and expensive illegal backroom fix, but with a lot of impressive window dressing.

    NOTE: There are tons of “investigators” out there who pretend to be “independent,” and who in exchange for a large fee will “prove” anything you want “proven.” We usually refer to them as experts, and although actually we should refer to them as highly paid professional pathological liars.


  5. Why doesn't Tavares in this article point out that Gray Harris is shacked-up with firefighter union pres Jeff DelBono?

    These are all peas from the same pod coming out to back each other up. They're all in bed with each other one way or another.


  6. It is unfortunate that L689, the who majority of its members who don't live here, vote here, shop here or send their children to Alameda schools feel that they should determine our government members. “Public Safety”, ha, remember Raymond Zack.


  7. The irony here is that our not-so-bright mayor opposed the hiring of this city manager, explaining her decision with one of her characteristically incoherent rambles at a city council meeting.

    Can't we have a better choice than the one we have between union hacks and a dullard who panders to the prejudices of the old Alameda reactionaries?


  8. Union members may come to the realization that their officers do not represent their interests and vote them out. Not sure when officers are elected or if they even have contested elections, but one brave firefighter may wish to challenge the leadership and take the union in a better direction.


  9. Oddie, The Toadie


  10. By MW:

    If the City Council decides it wants to do a coverup, and rather than a real investigation, it could hire the same professional pathological liars and common criminals with law licenses that UC President Janet Napolitano used to manufacture the lies, garbage, and nonsense, IN OTHER WORDS RATIONALIZATIONS AND “JUSTIFICATIONS,” as a basis for pretending it was legitimate the way she arranged an illegal backroom fix in the audit.

    (By the way, Janet Napolitano herself is a lawyer, and if she should end up getting fired over the audit scandal, since she has a long resume “proving” she is a “wonderful and totally trustworthy person” and of the very highest quality, integrity, and competence, in fact for awhile she was considered a serious contender for the US Supreme Court, and if Hillary had won the recent presidential election, Napolitano very likely would be on the USSC now, perhaps the city of Alameda will have the opportunity to hire the totally honest and completely trustworthy Janet Napolitano to do any necessary investigations.)


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