Keimach Recordings Released

The audio recording and transcript of the meeting between former City Manager Jill Keimach and Councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie was made available yesterday on the City of Alameda website.

The city created a website: www.alamedaca.gov/government/recording-release, for interested parties wanting to listen or read the contents of the August 2017 meeting. The audio of the meeting was sent to Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP, an Oakland-based political law firm, after the Council voted unanimously to publish the content of the meeting during a closed-session discussion during its Nov. 5 meeting. The city tasked the law firm with reviewing the recording and making any necessary redactions. The city wanted a third party to make the redactions for the purpose of transparency. Alameda City Clerk Lara Weisiger said the transcript of the meeting will have a notation explaining why each redaction was made.

Several reports had the transcript scheduled to be released last week. Weisiger said the delay was due to the amount of time it took to review the recording and make redactions. The initial plan was for the transcript to be released prior to the audio of the meeting due to the amount of time it would take to make redactions to an audio recording, according to reports. However, the city is releasing both components of the meeting simultaneously.

The closed-session discussion on whether to release the audio was put on the agenda after Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley sent a letter to Alameda City Attorney Yiben Shen on Oct. 22, urging the city to “consider the “public interest, open governance and transparency when making a final decision” (“City May Release Recording,” Nov. 5).

Vella and Oddie supported the decision to release the audio recording of the meeting, even though they felt that Keimach’s recordings violated the law. 

“I concur the public should have the opportunity to hear the recording themselves and draw their own conclusions. Those who have worked with me know that my style is blunt and straightforward, and my role in that conversation is no different,” Oddie stated.

Keimach recorded the meeting because she said she felt the two Councilmembers urged her to hire a union-backed candidate as the city’s new Fire Chief, which is a violation of the Alameda City Charter. Keimach instead hired current Alameda Fire Chief Edmund Rodriguez. 

The meeting is believed to be about an hour long. The Alameda Sun went to press before the city released the recording.