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City Hall Confidential

Submitted by on 1, April 29, 2011 – 6:01 amNo Comment

Russo’s out … in the open

After months of speculation about what has to be the worst kept secret in Alameda, John Russo’s selection as Alameda’s next city manager is out in the open. On Tuesday, the council will vote on whether to approve a one-year contract with Russo. His proposed salary of $215,000 a year is $35,000 a year more than former city manager Kurita was paid, but less than the $250,000 salary paid to Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant. If his contract is approved, Russo will start in June.

Speaking of long-awaited contracts, word is that the proposed agreement between the city and the firefighters union will go to union members for ratification in mid-May.

The fuel follies

As part of the $2 million lawsuit David Kapler filed against the city and two top city officials last week, Alameda’s former first fireman claims former City Manager Debra Kurita verbally agreed to let him use the city’s gas pumps to fuel his personal vehicles. But City Hall Confidential has learned that Kurita specifically told Kapler that city gas was not to be used in any of his personal vehicles, except for a truck that the city specially outfitted for him to use on the job.

The source, who has first-hand knowledge of the conversation, asked to remain anonymous for fear of being added to the list of people Kapler is suing. But CHC also confirmed with multiple sources that a city investigation into Kapler’s gas use turned up the same information.

SunCal’s mediation mambo

The city and SunCal are scheduled to enter voluntary mediation on May 24, a process that has stopped court action on the lawsuits the former Alameda Point developer has filed against the city. 

“I don’t think it’s just going through the motions,” Acting City Attorney Donna Mooney said when asked about whether this was just a procedure that had to be checked off a list before the court date.

After the mediator has read the legal briefs from both parties, she will let each know how strong she feels their case is, and what she says could become the basis for a settlement of one or more of the cases.

SunCal spokesman David Soyka declined to comment for this column.

CHC heads off The Island

As you’ve probably read, this is the last publication day for the The Island. I want to thank Michele Ellson for her incredible work over the past three years, bringing a new, meaningful depth of coverage to important issues that affect Alamedans every day. Michele’s dedication to this effort should not be misunderstood: Creating this amazing site was two full-time jobs, while balancing a family at the same time. We all owe her a debt of gratitude for the time, energy, care and respect that she put into every single article. The Island will be missed.

For now, City Hall Confidential will continue on Alamedans.com, running every other week. Thanks for reading and keep in touch.

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