The search for City Manager continues, but will it be transparent?
The San Leandro City Council is meeting tonight in closed session to discuss the appointment of a new City Manager. At its July 5th meeting, the Council hired Teri Black & Company to conduct a broad search for a City Manager. The search, which should start some time this month, will be open until October 16th. According to the agenda for tonight’s meeting, the City Council will update the public on this search.
It’s not clear why the City Council is meeting in closed session before the public meeting. Under the law, all meetings of the City Council must be public. There are a few exceptions, one of which includes discussion on the appointment, discipline or dismissal of a public employee, but this section refers to specific persons. This means that either the City Council is meeting to discuss the appointment of a specific person to this position, or that it will be violating the Brown Act.
Assuming that it’s the former, I can only speculate as to whom they will be considering. As Black’s search has not started, it doesn’t seem likely that they will meet to discuss any new applicants for the position. It’s possible that they’ll be discussing the past applicants – one, in particular, had impressed several members of the City Council, but he decided to take a job elsewhere. It’s also possible that an internal applicant has suddenly appeared. Neither the current interim City Manager, Lianne Marshall, or the Deputy City Manager, Jacqui Diaz, applied for the job back when it was opened in April. However, it is possible that since then one of them has changed her mind. Even if this is the case, I would hope that the City Council would continue the search (the firm has been hired and has put work on it, so we’ll have to pay them anyway) so as to assure that we get the best City Manager possible.
If, however, they are meeting in closed session to discuss something other than a specific individual that could be appointed to the City Manager position, this will be a violation of the Brown Act and a sign of the City Council’s contempt for both the law and the citizenry, and they should be called on it.