Keimach and Alameda part ways; city to pay $900,000

BREAKING: Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach and the City of Alameda are parting ways after agreeing to negotiated settlement over her employment and that ends months of uncertainty at City Hall. But the separation is coming with costs: $900,000 in total compensation to Keimach.

The Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer announced the settlement following closed session meeting. Details of the settlement were not disclosed Tuesday evening. The city’s split with Keimach is effective May 15, said Spencer.

“The City Council thanks her for her service to the city and the city wishes Ms. Keimach well in her continued public sector career,” Spencer said in the city’s statement.

Spencer and Councilmember Malia Vella voted against the settlement, said City Clerk Lara Weisinger.

Terms of the settlement were released during Tuesday’s council meeting. Keimach will receive $257,400 in severance payments paid over one year, along with health benefits for 18 months.

The city will also pay Keimach a $519,709 separation payment in the form of an annuity to be split over two installments in August 2018 and February 2019. In addition, the city is also on the hook for $125,000 in attorney’s fees to Keimach’s lawyer, Cannata, O’Toole, Fickes & Almazan LLP.

The agreement prohibits Keimach from any litigation against the city arising from her employment and allowed for the public release of the separation settlement and is not an admission of liability by either Keimach or the city, according to the agreement.

Keimach’s departure ends nearly eight months or more of controversy over the city manager’s stewardship of several recent critical incidents, allegations of improper illegal interference by her against the City Council, and yet another flare-up of anger some Alamedans toward their public safety employees at the Fire Department.

Keimach had been placed on paid administrative leave since March 9 after it was disclosed she recorded two Alameda councilmembers without their knowledge.

Controversy, though, had preceded the recording incident after Keimach issued a public letter to the council in October alleging some councilmembers violated the City Charter by interfering in her power to choose the city’s next fire chief. Keimach asserted that some councilmembers, later revealed to be Jim Oddie and Vella, pushed her to hire a candidate backed by the Alameda Firefighters union. Keimach, instead, resisted and hired former Salinas Fire Chief Ed Rodriguez.

But the allegation, subsequent investigation, and a growing frosty relationship between a majority of the council and Keimach made her future employment in Alameda highly unlikely.

Keimach was hired in March 2016 to replace former city manager John Russo. Prior to Alameda, Keimach served as Moraga town manager. Liz Warmerdam currently serves as Alameda acting city manager.