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Sunday, April 14, 2013

New City Manager: Will Secret Dealings Continue?

No More Back Room Deals at City Hall
With New Manager
Lobbyists Should be Barred From Secret Access

Emeryville turns a page with the retirement of City Manager Pat O'Keeffe on Tuesday, and as the City Council hires a replacement, the people of Emeryville should interject themselves at this critical juncture and demand a new regime of transparency at City Hall.  We should use the opportunity of a change in leadership to upset the culture of benevolence historically shown by the Emeryville City Manager to grant secret private privilege at the people's house.

Pat O'Keeffe
We won't see this face
around City Hall anymore.
But will we still feel his
presence after he's gone?
The Emeryville Property Owners Association (EPOA) is leading the charge for transparency at City Hall with a recent opinion piece from their blog.  The article slams Mr O'Keeffe for conducting private meetings with the Chamber of Commerce, a private organization and John Gooding, a private Emeryville political power broker.  
From EPOA:
"The City Manager should not attend closed door meetings on a monthly basis with any organized group.  We believe it violates the City Manager Code of Ethics.  We also criticize on-going weekly meetings between City Manager Pat O'Keeffe and John Gooding, the person who provides money for city council candidates in every election.  He is known to make 'back room deals'.  The subject of their weekly conversations is never disclosed.  The Code of Ethics says this is an action which undermines public confidence."
 Indeed, Tenet 7 from the International City Management Association Code of Ethics says city managers must refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators.  And to that we'd like to highlight Tenet 4 which mandates the function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all people.

Pat O'Keeffe came to Emeryville after serving as President of the Board of Directors of the California Redevelopment Association, an organization dedicated to the centralized application of city planning power, a world view antithetical to grassroots democratic participation (loud proclamations to the contrary notwithstanding).
Co-Owner of The Quadric Group, 
a political consulting firm.
He meets with our City Manager
 behind closed doors every week.
What do they talk about?

We say we've had enough of this.   After two consecutive terms of city managers in Emeryville conducting the people's business in darkness like this without the knowledge of or oversight by the people, we join with the Emeryville Property Owners Association's insistence that we indeed turn the page in Emeryville.  We need to make sure our new city manager is not made like our previous city managers.  We want a manager who'll include us at the table for a change.
The City Council, itself not a body taken to inclusion of the rabble in City Hall business, must recognize there's a new day in Emeryville.  We say we're finished with Emeryville city managers with an economic development background and all the anti-democratic baggage contained within.  As the Council makes their decision on our new employee, they need to know we expect a city manager with a city management background to take the reins at our City Hall.


  1. Residents United... also commented on transparency, open government, and asked for a manager who will consult with the residents. This was discussed at the city hall meeting in which the consultants, who are working on the city manager position, attended.

    1. Yes they did....way to go RULE! They've got our backs.