DA sends letter to Alameda city attorney

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this Oct. 22 letter District Attorney Nancy O’Malley sent to Alameda City Attorney Yibin Shen.

Dear Mr. Shen:
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DA) has received multiple requests under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) for a copy of the recording made by former City Manager Jill Keimach of the Aug. 16, 2017, meeting between her and Alameda City Councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie regarding the selection of Alameda’s next Fire Department Chief. The DA has declined to provide the recording under the CPRA because the recording was provided by the City of Alameda in a request for criminal investigation. As such, the request falls within the investigative exception of Government Code section 6254(f).

After a thorough review, it is the opinion of the DA that there is a strong public interest in disclosing the recording. It involves conversations of the public’s business by public employees during the scope of their public employment. 

Nevertheless, the DA is mindful of the fact that the recording was provided in confidence, as a part of a request for criminal investigation. As such, we are persuaded that we may not disclose the tape without violating Government Code section 6254(f), the investigative exemption to the CPRA. To disclose the document after receiving it in confidence would run afoul of that exemption.

As the criminal and Civil Grand Jury investigations are now complete, it is the opinion of the DA that the investigative exemption no longer applies to the city. We urge the city to consider the public interest, open governance and transparency when making its final decision.


Nancy E. O’Malley District Attorney, Alameda County