By Phil Matier

ALAMEDA (KCBS) – Alameda’s mayor wasn’t giving any early clues as to who would be the next City Manager, despite multiple published reports that one of the finalists was Oakland City Attorney John Russo.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

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Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore declined to comment on the rumored list of finalist for City Manager, but offered some general insight into the job search, indicating that she is looking for someone who can negotiate and is capable of tackling economic issues.

“We’d like to have a city manager in place sooner rather than later,” said Gilmore. “We have some interim department head positions that we’d like to fill and before we can do that, we need a city manager.”

One of Gilmore’s priorities is the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station, something a city manager may be an integral part of.

“I’m looking for someone with leadership qualities who’s smart, who has excellent negotiating skills and understands budgets and financing and that practices transparency and is highly ethical,” she said.

Word of Russo’s possible departure came just weeks after another high profile Oakland official, Police Chief Anthony Batts, was in the running to be San Jose’s Police Department Chief. Batts has since reportedly smoothed things over with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan after another candidate was picked for the San Jose job.

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Does the rumor of Russo’s interest in the Alameda post suggest there are additional cracks in the leadership at Oakland City Hall?

Russo has been said to be looking for a change after apparently clashing with Oakland’s new mayor. Russo reportedly disagreed with Quan over such issues as gang injunctions and medical marijuana farms.

“I’ve got to tell you, from talking with John and watching him over the last couple of months I think, you know, he’d take Alameda, he might take anything else that came by his way,” declared KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier. “He wants to get out of Oakland pretty bad, so far.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier

Even though it would be a change of scenery for Russo, Matier added that there were issues within Alameda government as well.

“Going into Alameda, the little town of Alameda is no picnic either,” said Matier. “At last count I think they had, let me see, the City Attorney took off for Barstow without telling anybody, right? And then the City Manager got put on paid administrative leave because they didn’t care for her. I think the Fire Chief was put on leave because he was pumping free gas into his BMW and the Police Chief’s an interim, too, I’m not sure what’s going on there.”

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