San Leandro City Council calls special meeting to discuss disciplining city manager

San Leandro City Council’s special closed
session begins Tuesday, 6 p.m.

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
Six days after the San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata threw the doors open on the city’s dirty laundry, including allegations of sexual misconduct against himself, city officials are likely to weigh-in on the burgeoning political scandal on Tuesday evening.

The City Council scheduled a special closed session meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. The only topic on the agenda is an item titled, “public employee discipline.”

Rose Johnson Padilla, the CEO of the San Leandro Family Resource Center, alleged in a letter to the council, dated Dec. 8, that Zapata had engaged in a years-long series of inappropriate comments toward her. Zapata’s alleged misconduct included suggestive comments, explicit music lyrics, said Johnson, along with his insistence they privately discuss city business in parked cars.

Late, when it came to an extension of a $1.5 million city loan to the Davis Street Family Resource Center, Johnson alleged Zapata suggested a romantic relationship in exchange for the extension.

At the center of San Leandro’s growing political
scandal: Davis Street CEO Rose Padilla
 Johnson and City Manager Chris Zapata.

In his own letter sent hours before the San Leandro City Council meeting on Jan. 16, Zapata denied the allegations, and made the initial public disclosure that there was in fact an investigation into Johnson’s complaint.

The City Council made no mention of the growing scandal last Tuesday, nor was there an official announcement from the city attorney about an investigation into Johnson’s claims.

One possibility Tuesday night could result in Zapata’s termination, although there are indications he may still have strong supporters among some councilmembers, especially those who believe Johnson’s complaint is timed to aid final approval of the conditional-use permit still pending for the Davis Street Wellness Center medical cannabis dispensary, which Johnson has financial interests.

 Another more likely scenario is the council votes to place Zapata on paid administrative leave, a scenario that is common when a city official is under investigation for misconduct.

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