Source: Russo is council’s pick for Alameda manager job
Russo, 52, told The Island on Sunday that he couldn’t talk about the council’s choice for a new city manager, saying the city hadn’t completed its hiring process yet. But The Island’s source said that the other two top candidates for the job, former assistant city manager David Brandt and Millbrae City Manager Marcia Raines, had been informed that they weren’t picked for the job.
Brandt confirmed on Monday that he had been told over the weekend that he wasn’t selected to take the job. Raines didn’t return a call seeking confirmation that she would remain in Millbrae.
“The candidate won’t be me,” said Brandt, who has managed the city of Redmond, Ore. since 2009.
The City Council is set to hold a closed-door session about its future city manager tonight, though it’s unclear whether a new hire will be announced.
The candidates were interviewed by council members in February and again on Friday by panels of community stakeholders, labor and department heads, who gave their input to the council during a special, closed-door session on Saturday. The council announced Saturday afternoon that they had discussed selection of a city manager and given direction to staff, but no further details were provided about the five-plus-hour meeting.
Mayor Marie Gilmore didn’t respond to a reporter’s request Monday for a vote tally from Saturday’s meeting or time frame for announcing a new manager.
Russo has been Oakland’s city attorney since 2000, when he became the city’s first-ever candidate elected to the formerly appointive post. Prior to that, the Brooklyn-born, Yale- and New York University-educated lawyer had served for six years on Oakland’s City Council. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully against Sandré Swanson for the 16th district state Assembly seat Swanson still holds.
Russo has been honored for promoting government transparency and founding a neighborhood law corps during his decade as Oakland’s top attorney, but he has tangled recently with new Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland’s City Council over a recent gang injunction and a pot farm ordinance the council passed in 2010 but later suspended.
He donated money to the recent council and mayoral campaigns of Councilman Rob Bonta, Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilwoman Lena Tam, who he also publicly supported after city official announced she was the subject of a leaks investigation.
Whoever becomes Alameda’s next city manager will confront major decisions over the future of Alameda Point, and the hiring of several department managers, on top of broader problems including pension reform and the ongoing effects of a sagging economy.
If Russo resigns as Oakland’s city attorney, the city council there has the power to appoint someone new to fill out the rest of his term. They can also hold a special election to fill the seat.
Ann Marie Gallant, Alameda’s interim city manager since April 2009, was placed on administrative leave on December 28; her contract expires Thursday. Gallant has since made a claim seeking money from the city, a move widely considered to be a prelude to a possible lawsuit.