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City: Manager leave handled properly

Submitted by on 1, January 14, 2011 – 12:04 am4 Comments

City officials said they properly handled their decision to place Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant on administrative leave through March 31, when her contract with the city terminates.

In a press release issued late Thursday afternoon, they said they complied with the terms of Gallant’s contract, the city charter and the Brown Act, the state law that establishes open meeting rules, when they decided in a December 28, 2010 closed-door meeting to place Gallant on paid leave and to not renew her contract to run the city.

Edward Kreisberg, an outside attorney hired by the city affirmed their closed-door decision to put Gallant on leave was lawful, the press release said. “He advised the City Council that all aspects of the December 28, 2010 closed session, including the Council’s deliberations, fully complied with the noticing provisions of the Brown Act, the city charter, and Ms. Gallant’s employment contract,” it said.

Gallant’s contract required the council to offer 90 days notice if it decided not to renew, the press release said.

Residents who supported Gallant accused members of the council of violating the Brown Act, the City Charter and Gallant’s contract when the council put her on leave and chose not to renew her contract on a 3-2 vote. They said Gallant should have been given the right to have any charges against her heard in a public session, and that the charter forbids the council from firing the city manager, city attorney or city clerk for 90 days after new council members are seated.

But Gallant hasn’t been fired, the release said.

“Ann Marie Gallant is still an employee of the City of Alameda and will remain so until the end of her contract,” Mayor Marie Gilmore was quoted as saying in the release. “I stand by the council majority’s decision.”

Gallant’s backers continued to press their case Thursday. City Councilman Doug deHaan is asking his dais-mates to consider offering the public more clarification on the process the council undertook to place Gallant and City Attorney Teresa Highsmith on leave.

Highsmith, who took a contract job to serve as Barstow’s interim city attorney while remaining as Alameda’s city attorney, was placed on leave by a 5-0 vote on December 28.

In an e-mail received by a reporter Thursday afternoon, a person or group identifying themselves as Citizens for a Better Alameda claimed the council majority that ousted Gallant acted illegally.

“While we expected some changes in city operations, we didn’t expect this to be done in the manner chosen by the City Council: during the heavy vacation time between Christmas and New Years, and we didn’t expect the City Council to take actions in secret behind closed doors. Especially without notifying the individuals involved or the public,” the e-mail said.

The person who sent the e-mail, Gretchen Lipow, didn’t identify members of Citizens for a Better Alameda.

Meanwhile, the city has started its search for a new city manager. The city’s initial application deadline is Feburary 1, and interviews are slated to being on February 19. An appointment could be made as soon as April. The city’s recruitment brochure is available on its newly designed website.


  • Adam Gillitt says:

    “Ann Marie Gallant is still an employee of the City of Alameda and will remain so until the end of her contract,”

    Then let her do the job she is being paid to do.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    Michelle, thanks for accurately and evenhandedly reporting the City Council’s (CC’s) actions and decisions of December 28, 2010.

    I had previously urged members of the CC to offer this more detailed explanation of their actions and the significant precautions they took to ensure that all their actions were legal and appropriate. The press release appears to have answered the concerns voiced by critics at a recent CC meeting.

    As to Mr. Gillitt’s comment, I would suggest to him and to other readers that many people, including a duly-elected majority of our CC, have serious doubts about the Interim City Manager’s imperfect past performance and believe it is in the city’s best interests for her to NOT continue in her job. She has harmed as well as helped the City of Alameda, as has been documented extensively in the Island News and by other sources.

  • Adam Gillitt says:

    Anyone would have serious doubts about a Suncal advisor giving suggestions on the inner workings of the City Council or the best interests of Alameda.

    What the article above does not explain are many key issues about the press release or ICM’s removal:

    • Why did the City retain outside counsel to explain their actions?
    • Why did the City retain counsel who had contributed to the campaigns of two of the Councilmembers?
    • Why did it take 10 days after their secret meeting to release this document?
    • Why is the press release not available to the general public-at-large on the City’s website?
    • How does the press release categorically define that the City Councilmembers who voted to remove the ICM did so in a way that did not violate our City Charter or the Brown Act?
    • How does this behavior align with previous pledges to encourage trust and transparency?
    • Where is Donna Mooney’s opinion as the City Attorney requested by both Councilmembers deHaan and Johnson and members of the public?

    Just saying something is so doesn’t make it come true.

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