UPDATED City Manager Kurita resigns
Updated 2:15 p.m.
In case you missed it yesterday, City Manager Debra Kurita has resigned.
Kurita, who came to the job in August 2005, handed in her resignation Thursday afternoon after a series of closed-door sessions on her performance that ended with a four-hour meeting Tuesday night.
“The City Council members and I have met to discuss my role as City Manager and the direction of the City organization. Although we share many goals for the future of this City, we do differ in the manner in which to achieve these goals. Therefore, I have tendered my resignation,” Kurita said in an e-mail to city staff.
Kurita did not respond to a call seeking comment. Assistant City Manager David Brandt will step in as acting city manager until an interim is found. Johnson said the city will discuss that issue at its meeting on Tuesday.
“It’s always regrettable to lose someone on your senior management team,” Mayor Beverly Johnson said. “I wish her the best. She has a lot to be proud of here in Alameda.”
Councilman Frank Matarrese said he agrees with Kurita’s statement and that he wishes her well.
“We’ve got critical time in front of us. We need to move forward,” Matarrese said.
He declined to specify what the differences between the council and Kurita were.
“What’s best for the city is moving forward,” he said.
Others offered Kurita good wishes.
“The Alameda firefighters wish Debbie and her family all the best in their future endeavors,” said Domenick Weaver, president of the local firefighters union. “In these difficult times and in an effort to move forward, we hope to be able to work with the City through the current challenges and be part of a collaborative solution.”
Rob Platt, government relations chair for the Alameda Association of Realtors, said his group worked hard over the past year to develop a good relationship with Kurita.
“We found Ms. Kurita to be receptive to our concerns and a pleasure to work with, even when our positions differed,” Platt said. “We look forward to developing the same working relationship with her successor, David Brandt.”
But Mike Richina, a board member for the union that represents park maintenance workers, said he is hopeful that Kurita’s departure could help the city turn a corner. The city’s decision to turn the Chuck Corica Golf Complex over to private management meant pink slips for a number of parks workers.
“Hopefully we can get someone in there who will do things the right way, (who will) stop laying people off,” Richina said, adding that this is his personal opinion. He said he thinks the city’s management has been a huge factor in the problems it has faced in recent years.
Kurita leaves the city at a time when it faces serious fiscal challeges, protracted negotiations with its public safety unions and a battle over the future of the former Alameda Naval Air Station.
Kurita had served as assistant city manager in Santa Ana for more than 15 years and worked in the Southern California cities of Torrance and Lawndale before that. She was Alameda’s first female city manager.
“Debra Kurita has exactly the right mix of professional accomplishments and personal achievements to lead the Alameda city staff. She brings a deep knowledge of municipal finance and human resource issues to our community, as well as a reputation as a caring, competent manager,” Johnson said when Kurita was hired.
Her original, three-year contract came with a salary of $180,000.