Who runs Alameda, city manager … or the fire union?

Daniel Borenstein:

In Alameda, an island community with a long history of strong labor influence, the city manager could lose her job because she resisted political pressure to hire a union leader as fire chief.

The people who probably should be removed from City Hall are council members Malia Vella and Jim Oddie, who apparently violated the city charter by meddling in the selection process. Oddie even threatened to fire City Manager Jill Keimach if she didn’t bend to his wishes, the police chief says.

The charter specifies that hiring decisions rest with the city manager. Council interference is prohibited and grounds for removal from office for malfeasance. City Attorney Janet Kern said Monday she will hire an outside law firm to investigate.

Rather than capitulate to the union, Keimach conducted an open and rigorous recruitment for a new chief to manage the 111-person fire department and its $34 million annual budget.

Last week, she hired Edmond Rodriguez, the chief of the Salinas Fire Department, to fill the post. Questioned by four interview panels, Rodriguez ranked highest in the selection process.

Madison’s taxpayer funded K-12 District has long resisted changing its non-diverse governance model, most recently rejecting a psuedo charter school proposal.