Alameda’s new City Council has put Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and City Attorney Teresa Highsmith on paid administrative leave and initiated the search process for a new city manager.
The decision to not renew Gallant’s contract and to put her on leave passed 3-2, with Mayor Marie Gilmore and council members Lena Tam and Rob Bonta voting in favor of the moves. Council members Beverly Johnson and Doug deHaan voted against the changes. The council voted 5-0 to put Highsmith on leave.
Deputy City Manager Lisa Goldman has been named acting city manager, while Senior Assistant City Attorney Donna Mooney will serve as acting city attorney.
The changes follow the council’s discovery that Highsmith had taken a contract job as interim city attorney for the city of Barstow. As of late last week, Highsmith had not resigned or retired from her Alameda job. Gallant’s contract with the city was set to expire on March 31, 2011, but it required the council to give her 90 days' notice if she was to be replaced.
Gallant and Highsmith also hired an attorney to conduct a leaks investigation against Tam, a move that cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and ended with District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s decision not to pursue the case. Highsmith’s Barstow contract is through Colantuono & Levin, the firm that she and Gallant hired to investigate Tam.
Alameda is now without a permanent city manager, city attorney, police chief or fire chief. The city no longer has a planning director or finance director, and its economic development director, Leslie Little, just left for a job in Morgan Hill, leaving one of several vacant leadership positions in the city.