Vella: Secret audio recording should be released in its entirety

Vella

Alameda Councilmember Malia Vella said the transcript of a secret audio recording set to be released soon by the city should include as few redactions as possible. She also suggests in a statement that some context could be omitted from the 55-minute meeting made by former City Manager Jill Keimach of her and Councilmember Jim Oddie.

“Now that the City Council has voted to release the recording, I believe that the entirety of the recording should be released so there is context for the whole meeting and what transpired,” Vella wrote.

“Contrary to the few who have sought to exploit the supposed content of this recording, my intent was never to pressure Ms. Keimach into hiring one individual, but rather to encourage better communication regarding the process.  I joined this meeting because members of the community had voiced their concern that certain candidates in the Fire Chief selection process were not receiving a fair shake.  The recording bears this out.”

At one point, Keimach told her and Oddie that she did not feel pressured by them during the recorded conversation, according to Vella.

Last Tuesday, the Alameda City Council voted in closed session to authorize the city attorney to produce a transcript of the 2017 conversation. Keimach later said she created the audio recording, which was made without the knowledge of Vella and Oddie, because she believed some type of impropriety or crime could occur at the meeting held at City Hall.

Subsequent news about the existence of the recording followed a letter sent by Keimach to the Alameda City Council alleging two then-unnamed councilmembers had interfered in her duties to select a new fire chief, which is a violation of the city charter.

A report in the East Bay Times later detailed an allegation made by Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri that Oddie threatened to seek Keimach’s removal as city manager if she did not choose a fire chief candidate backed by the Alameda firefighters union.

Vella said, in the statement, that she would not have accepted the meeting with Keimach and Oddie, if she had prior knowledge of the allegation made by Rolleri against Oddie.