City Settles with Keimach

 

The city of Alameda and former City Manager Jill Keimach agreed to a $900,000 settlement that ended her employment with the city on May 15.

Mayor Trish Spencer announced the settlement at the May 15 City Council meeting. 

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

The council voted 3-2 in favor of the settlement. Spencer and Vice Mayor Malia Vella voted “no.”

The deal includes $257,400 in severance, 18 months of health benefits and a $519,000 annuity to be paid in two installments, on Aug. 1 and Feb. 1, 2019. The city will also pay Keimach’s attorney’s fees of $125,000. The city has not announced where the funds will come from.

The agreement prohibits Keimach from any litigation against the city and is not an admission of liability by either Keimach or the city, according to the agreement.

Investigation Timeline of Fire Chief Hire Process, Part Two
The first half of this timeline appeared in last week’s edition.

Timeline Pt. 2

On Aug. 1, 2017, Councilmember Jim Oddie joined Alameda Police Department Chief Paul Rolleri on National Night Out. Rolleri’s name is redacted, but this has been confirmed by multiple reports. According to the report, Rolleri said that Oddie told him Keimach needed to “do the right thing,” in terms of hiring Domenick Weaver, and that there were already two Councilmembers ready to fire her if she did not. Oddie denied making the remark about firing Keimach to the investigator.
That same day an unnamed person asked Vice Mayor Malia Vella to write a recommendation letter on behalf of Weaver. She consulted with Ron Gould, a senior partner at Management Partners, a consulting firm, about the request. After the meeting she decided not to write the letter. 

The fire chief recruitment process spanned from July 3,  to Aug. 7, 2017. By Aug. 11 Teri Black of Black & Company, an executive search consulting firm that conducted the fire chief search process, whittled down the field of 42 potential fire chiefs to 10 candidates, including three internal candidates. Weaver was one of the three internal candidates.

Oddie and Vella held a formal meeting with Keimach Aug. 16, 2017. At this meeting Keimach felt Oddie and Vella pressured her to hire Weaver to promote labor peace and avoid an incident similar to what happened to Raymond Zack, referring to the 2011 incident where Alameda firefighters remained ashore and looked on while Zack drowned at Crown Beach. Keimach secretly recorded audio of the meeting.

In early September, just eight final candidates went through the interview process. Each candidate was interviewed by two separate panels back-to-back. The first panel was comprised of fire professionals, while the second panel was made of community members and city staff. According to Keimach, AFD Capt. Jeff Delbono, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 689, was on the first panel. Keimach was part of the second panel. According to Keimach, Weaver did well in the fire professional panel, but not in the city staff panel.
Keimach received a call from Assemblymember Rob Bonta on Sept. 18. Bonta reminded Keimach about the sales tax exemption he helped the City pass and that the City would need Weaver as fire chief if it wanted legislation like that to pass.

Keimach and staff began conducting final interviews on Sept. 20. They interviewed the two highest-scoring candidates from both panels and two internal candidates. Following the final interviews Keimach performed a background check on Edmond Rodriguez with the intention of hiring him. Keimach also hired an attorney to advise her with respect to her own employment concerns. Her counsel began to assist her with writing a letter describing her gripes with the fire chief selection process.

Weaver withdrew from the fire chief selection process on Sept. 29, citing an unfair process. 
On Oct. 2, Keimach delivered her letter to the Council. On Oct. 3, she issued the press release announcing Rodriguez as the new Alameda Fire Department Fire Chief.