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Oakland City Attorney Russo Leaving For Alameda Post

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John Russo, Oakland City Attorney

John Russo, Oakland City Attorney (City of Oakland)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Oakland City Attorney John Russo announced Wednesday that he will leave his post on June 13 to became Alameda’s city manager.

The Alameda City Council approved a contract for Russo at its meeting on Tuesday night.

Oakland’s city council will have 60 days to appoint a replacement for Russo once he departs. That person will serve the rest of his four-year term, which ends in December 2012.

If the council doesn’t make an appointment within 60 days, a special election must be held within 120 days to fill the post.

Russo, 52, was elected to the Oakland City Council in 1994 and became the city’s first elected city attorney in 2000.

“John Russo served the city of Oakland well both as council member and as city attorney,” City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said in a statement. “Now the city of Alameda will benefit from his acquired experience representing the toughest city in the state.”

Russo’s departure is not a surprise, as he had applied for the Alameda city manager position months ago.

He has clashed with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan since she took office in January, in part because of her relationship with lawyer Dan Siegel, her longtime friend, who has acted as an unpaid legal adviser to the city.

Russo also drew scrutiny for targeting Oakland gangs through controversial injuctions against gang member movements in certain parts of the city.

Alameda officials said Russo was selected as their new city manager after a national competitive process that attracted more than 70 candidates.

Mayor Marie Gilmore said in a statement, “John Russo brings a deep and wide knowledge of municipal finance and a collaborative problem-solving style to our community, as well as a reputation as a tough but fair manager.

Alameda officials said Russo has been offered a five-year contract with an annual salary of $215,000. He also will receive deferred compensation of $15,000 annually, plus other city benefits.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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