Alameda police chief leads a chorus of support for embattled city manager

Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri added another level of intrigue to the on-going controversy stemming from the hire of a new fire chief Tuesday night when he lead a group of city department heads in standing in support of City Manager Jill Keimach.

“We here to affirm there is stability within the city and that we all, individually and collectively, trust in Jill Keimach’s leadership and are working together to accomplish the city’s priorities,” Rolleri told the City Council, flanked by a number of top city administrators.

Last month, Rolleri alleged that Councilmember Jim Oddie made comments to him suggesting Keimach may be fired if she did not hire the candidate backed by the firefighers’ union as the city’s next fire chief. Keimach has made no specific assertion, but in a letter to City Council in early October, she described improper interference by the council.

Privately, Rolleri has expressed concern in the past over the allegations of political interference by some councilmembers is sending a chilling message to city directors wary of facing similar interference within their own departments.

The scene Tuesday evening was an extraordinary image of City Hall leaders standing in support of the city manager. However, the show of solidarity did not appear to be a response to any questions over Keimach’s leadership by councilmembers, but negative public comments made last month by Alameda school board member Gray Harris.

During a City Council meeting, Harris, serving as a member of the California Teachers Association, suggested Keimach hindered negotiations for the Moraga teachers union. In addition, she said Keimach’s allegations against the council were a ploy designed to save her job in Alameda.

“It’s obvious to me that this whole investigation is a bad management ploy to divert attention from the city manager, who hasn’t been doing a good job,” said Harris. “To me, it’s clear you thought you were going to get fired, and, therefore, you’re directing this onto the council so they won’t do your review.”

Speaking prior to Rolleri was a contingent of officials from Moraga who praised Keimach’s stewardship as its town manager. Moraga Mayor Teresa Onoda said she came to correct the record and praised Keimach for her intelligence, grace, and “spine of steel.”

Keimach was also never involved in any capacity with negotiations between the Moraga School District and its teachers, said Bruce Burns, superintendent of the Moraga School District. “Any commentary to the contrary is false and is a ridiculous attempt from a misguided person who appears to be using a title for personal and other benefit.”

Moraga Councilmember Dave Trotter said the assertion Keimach was on the verge of being fired by the Moraga Town Council is demonstrably false. “We came out here because we are outraged that those types of assertions could be made. Jill was a success and we miss her and I kind of wish she would come back.”

Keimach served as Moraga town manager for six years before taking the job of Alameda city manager in March 2016. In July, the Moraga City Council learned its finances were nearing bankruptcy levels, with several town officials expressing surprise over the development. The town ultimately declared a fiscal emergency.

Categories: Alameda City Council, Alameda city manager, Dave Trotter, fire chief, fiscal emergency, interference, Jill Keimach, Jim Oddie, Moraga, Paul Rolleri, Teresa Onoda

8 replies

  1. It may well be that Jill Keimach is not the best city manager and that her accusers are exploiting every opportunity for their benefit. There may well be a lot of blame to go around and no heroes in this story. We are stuck with these sad sack characters who chew through tax dollars with little to show.


  2. Final Score:

    Good Government Types: 1
    Union Flacks: 0


  3. I'm a member of union whores local 666. Always suckling on the public tit. Hey! I resemble that remark!!


  4. Mr. Tavares, a journalistic question for you. You wrote:

    “During a City Council meeting, [Gray] Harris, serving as a member of the California Teachers Association, suggested Keimach hindered negotiations for the Moraga teachers union. In addition, she said Keimach's allegations against the council were a ploy designed to save her job in Alameda.”

    What City Council meeting was that and what words did Gray Harris say that served your basis for saying Harris suggested that “Keimach hindered negotiations for the Moraga teachers union”?

    Here is everything that Gray Harris said about Moraga at the October 17 Alameda City Council meeting, and I don’t see a single word in it about union negotiations, nor an allegation by Harris that Keimach hindered teacher union negotiations in Moraga:

    “I also represent the teachers in Moraga, and I don’t think it’s any secret that you also failed there as a city manager”


  5. I challenge anyone to find something about Jill Keimach that suggests that she is not honest and hardworking. Anyone who makes decisions is bound to make mistakes at times. Moving from a small town to a medium size full service city is a challenge and has a learning curve; however, she is now on board and learning every day — perhaps learning more about nasty local politics than she wanted. If you want to find fault with her, I am sure that you can. Regardless, it is best if we work with her rather than try to undermine her. At this point in time, who do we think would do better managing a full service city of 80,000 facing numerous challenges? Do we really want to roll the dice and hope for better?


  6. Roll the dice for a new city manager now, and you would have a three councilmember majority, Vella, Ashcraft and Oddie, whose last campaigns were all bankrolled by the fire union, deciding on the next city manager (that is, if they survived a recall).


  7. Union whores of the world, unite! Screw hard, honest working taxpayers–who RESIDE in Alameda!


  8. It is good people like Keimach, Rolleri, and the City Department Heads that make Alameda and the world a better place. They work hard every day to make the world a little better. People like Delbono, Harris, Spencer, Vella and Oddie are self-serving, divisive and do not really care about the people they serve. Their union affiliations don't matter. The bottom line is they are not good people working to make a better world.


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