ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) — Alameda’s city manager is fighting to save her job after being accused of breaking the law.
Secret recordings, allegations of threats and even extortion were the topics of discussion in Alameda on Monday night.
The Alameda City Council had a special meeting at City Hall Monday night to discuss what to do about Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach.
After the city council met behind closed doors for more than four hours, they decided to release the findings of an independent investigation into the claims.
And the recordings will be sent to the district attorney for possible criminal charges.
Keimach remains on paid leave.
Keimach used the public comment section of Monday night’s open council meeting to speak directly to the council members.
“I had to either take the easy road and maintain the past practices or to make my life a little more difficult by exposing unethical behavior,” Keimach said.
When she was done, most people at the meeting stood up to cheer.
Keimach says last year she had to hire a new fire chief.
She says two city council members — Vice Mayor Malia Vella and Jim Oddie — tried to pressure her into hiring an internal candidate supported by the firefighters union, but Keimach went with a different candidate.
Keimach said, “Since I selected someone that was not what they wanted me to select, there has been retaliation since then and this is part of that retaliation.”
Keimach says she recorded conversations with the two council members because of past threats.
Her attorneys say the recordings weren’t illegal because of exceptions around threatening conversations.
Keimach’s attorney Karl Olson said, “We believe their conduct amounted to extortion and bribery, and they should not be allowed to serve as judge and jury in their own case.”
Dozens of residents attended the meeting to voice their opinions.
Alameda resident Colleen Pimentel said, “Our city manager was trying to fulfill her responsibilities in a very professional manner.”
Michael McDonough with the Alameda Chamber of Commerce said, “This issue has spiraled into a catastrophe that may have long term consequences for the city of Alameda.”
Alameda resident Marty Frates said, “The city manager needs to go and right after her the police chief needs to go.”
KPIX 5 reached out to the city to see if we could talk with the city attorney or the council members involved before the meeting, but were told there would be no comment because this is considered a personnel matter.