Tom Butt
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  City Manager Search Update
July 30, 2018

The Richmond City Council re-interviewed three finalists on Saturday July 28 and may take formal action on appointment of a new City Manager at the regular meeting scheduled for August 7 at 6:30, when the Council also intends to take action on the transfer tax measure for the November ballot and perhaps one or more other items.

3 finalists for Richmond city manager state their case to residents

July 26, 2018

3 finalists for Richmond City Council face the public
From left to right, former Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach, current East Palo Alto City Manager Carlos Martinez, and former Oxnard Assistant City Manager Ruth Osuna.

The three finalists for the position of Richmond City Manager stated their case in front of residents Monday night.

Current East Palo Alto City Manager Carlos Martinez, former Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach, and former Oxnard Assistant City Manager Ruth Osuna were named finalists out of over 30 candidates, according to the city.

Whomever is chosen will have big shoes to fill as well-respected City Manager Bill Lindsay readies to retire after 13 years in the post.

The finalists were narrowed down from five to three after interviews with Richmond City Council members last Friday. On Monday, they introduced themselves to the public and answered questions on leadership, city finances, public safety and other issues crucial to Richmond. To view the full video, click here.

In summary….

Keimach is highly experienced in the public sector, having been town manager of Moraga for five years, where she was credited with improving roads and remodeling city centers. Some of her previous public sector stints included Fremont, Walnut Creek and El Cerrito.

She joined the City of Alameda in 2016. Her resignation in May was followed controversy stemming from her secretly recording two city council members she alleges engaged in unethical behavior during the hiring of a fire chief.

She addressed the controversy early Monday night.

“I’m well-known most recently for my ethics and integrity, and I have decided every time I’ve been tested to put the community first, to choose what was clearly in the best interest of the community, even when it meant it was going against hard-fought politics, cronyism, and my own job. And that was my most recent experience in the city of Alameda.”

A UC Berkeley graduate with a Bachelors degree in architecture and Masters degrees in city and regional planning and transportation, Keimach was also the first manager of the San Francisco Bay Trail project and worked for BART.

Martinez was appointed city manager of East Palo Alto in early 2015 after 11 years serving in various management roles with the city. He’s also worked for the city of Hayward. Originally from Nicaragua, Martinez came to the U.S. after studying architecture in Mexico City. He started a business before entering the UC Berkeley graduate program to obtain two Masters degrees in architecture. He spent time working for a multi-national firm and at nonprofits.

In East Palo Alto, population of about 29,000, he says he’s handled large “controversial” projects such as the development of IKEA, the attraction of the Four Season Hotel, and the transformation of a landfill site into an educational environmental facility for youth.

Martinez touted the lack of homicides in the last two years in East Palo Alto, which, like Richmond, was in the past considered a murder capital in the U.S. He believes his experience in both the private and public sector, as a small business owner and in nonprofits, makes him valuable as a city manager.

Osuna left her latest role as assistant city manager of Oxnard in January. She had been one of two assistant city managers hired under a previous city manager in November 2016, and oversaw economic development, housing, public works and development services departments.

After majoring in English and Journalism in college, Osuna worked as a teacher at the secondary level, and chose public administration as a Masters degree in order to study equity issues in education financing. She would then become a management intern for the city of Phoenix, and then deputy assistant of transportation of that city at a time when a freeway system was being developed. She’s also held positions at financial institutions including the Bank of America, worked with two national nonprofits on housing development, and was later named deputy city manager for Phoenix, aiding in a swift turnaround of the city’s housing authority.

She also served as city manager in Eloy, Arizona, population 16,000, and as assistant city manager in Brownsville, Texas, population 168,000.

She believes Richmond could benefit from her three-pronged formula for success: developing strong relationships between the business community, residents, and government.

“I have chosen cities that are very difficult to work in and have provided a challenge,” Osuna said. “And like Jill [Keimach], I’ve had to make difficult decisions in those kinds of environments. But I too am very committed to the profession, committed to the community and committed to integrity and transparency.”

The three finalists will again meet with City Council members in closed session on Saturday.