Council Votes 5-0 to Put Manager on Leave
Mayor Trish Spencer announced the City Council voted unanimously to place City Manager Jill Keimach on paid administrative leave at the conclusion of a lengthy Council closed session meeting Friday, March 9.
The decision came after Spencer said the Council reviewed the final investigative report involving the hiring process of current of the new Alameda Fire Department (AFD) Fire Chief Edmond Rodriguez last October.
“The City Council has received the final investigative report from its independent investigator Michael Jenkins from the California law firm Jenkins & Hogin,” read Spencer from a prepared statement. “The report includes confidential advice regarding potential litigation given to the Cty Council, which the Council is currently assessing in conjunction with its attorneys. The city will release the factual findings of the investigative report as soon as possible after the requisite legal analysis has been completed and delivered to the City Council.”
Spencer did not reveal what the City Manager did that led to the council’s decision. However, on the council agenda, the meeting section is described as “Significant exposure to litigation” and mentions “City Exposure to Legal Action.” Keimach was placed on leave with full salary and benefits while the assessment is to take place.
The investigation stemmed from an Oct. 2 letter from Keimach to the City Council.
In the letter, Keimach said she felt “intense and unrelenting” political pressure from two Councilmembers during the AFD fire chief hiring process.
The alleged interference would be a violation of Alameda City Charter Section 7-3, which states “An attempt by a Councilmember to influence the City Manager in the making of any appointment… shall subject such Councilmember to removal from office for malfeasance.” Keimach went on to hire Rodriguez from the Salinas Fire Department on Oct. 3, 2017.
After the letter was made public, it was revealed that the two Councilmembers referred to in the letter were Vice-Mayor Malia Vella and Councilmember Jim Oddie. The two have denied any wrongdoing.
The letter prompted Alameda City Attorney Janet Kern to hire Michael Jenkins of Jenkins & Hogin, LLP to run the independent investigation. The investigation began in October of last year.