Alameda names placeholder interim city manager

David Rudat, a former city manager in Orange, Calif., has been named Alameda interim city manager. Rudat’s tenure, which is pending approval of his contract by the City Council at its July 24 meeting, is expected to be short as city officials begin a nationwide search for a permanent city manager.

“I’m very excited to have someone with Mr. Rudat’s academic credentials and breadth of experience to assist the City of Alameda in achieving its goals while the City Council searches for a new permanent City Manager,” said Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer.

Rudat’s proposed contract will run through Jan. 31, 2019 and pay him up to $118,800–the same rate as former city manager Jill Keimach. However, because Rudat will be listed as a city contractor, he will not be eligible for city benefits and paid an hourly rate of $123.75 an hour, capped at 960 hours, under state pension rules. If approved by the council next week, Rudat’s first day will be Aug. 6.

The pension accounting rules is believed to be one reason why Acting City Manager Liz Warmerdam was not given the interim tag. She had served in the capacity since Keimach was placed on paid administrative leave last March for what was later revealed to be due to her secretly taping two Alameda councilmembers without their knowledge.

Rudat comes to Alameda with experience, if not a bit of controversy in his past. He served a decade as city manager in Orange, Calif, but his 15 month tenure as interim fire chief in Stockton in 2012 is most pertinent to the situation currently in Alameda.

Rudat was also a stopgap hiring in Stockton following a racial discrimination scandal at the fire department that resulted in the firing of its fire chief. In a twist, the firefighter who successfully sued the city of Stockton is Ed Rodriguez, Alameda’s current fire chief.

Rudat comes to Alameda in the wake of a nearly year-long controversy involving Keimach that ended in her departure last May, but not before reopening divisions within the community over the political power of the Alameda firefighters union.

His time as Stockton fire chief also ended in some controversy after it was alleged by the state California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) that Rudat, who was retired, presented himself to the agency as an independent contractor, even though he was paid through the city’s payroll system and acted as a full-time city employee.

State law required Rudat to “unretire” before working for another government agency within CalPERS. Rudat was ordered to remit $216,000 in pension benefits, according to the Orange County Register, but resigned instead in order to avoid paying back CalPERS.

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