Oakland Tribune: City Attorney Russo Finalist for Alameda City Manager

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John Russo. Photo: Oakland City Attorney

First Police Chief Anthony Batts tried to fly the Oakland coop, now it appears City Attorney John Russo has also been job-hunting....

From the Oakland Tribune:

Oakland City Attorney John Russo is one of three finalists for the Alameda city manager position, sources confirmed Thursday.

Russo has been batting away rumors for weeks that he is feuding with new Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and looking for ways to leave his post. Now, however, it turns out that at least part of that rumor is true: Russo applied for the Alameda job after the recruitment period opened Feb. 1.

The search for a new city manager is moving fast. More than 65 people applied for the job. The Alameda City Council interviewed six candidates and unanimously selected three finalists during a closed-door session Feb. 19. The candidates will be reviewed by three advisory panels that will help the council make its final decision. Full article

Alex Katz of the City Attorney's Office said it could not comment at this time.

The handwriting for a Russo move has been on Jack London Square walls for weeks. Last month Russo made public a letter he sent to Mayor Jean Quan asserting that her retaining Dan Siegel as an unpaid legal advisor presented a conflict of interest, as Siegel is an outspoken opponent of the Fruitvale gang injunction that Russo has pushed.


Quan responded by claiming that Russo had "his own political agenda" and that "John Russo tends to attack by press release." After reports surfaced that Russo was considering a resignation, Quan hit back with this quote:

"We should look at whether we should have an elected city attorney at all.”

More recently, Russo was at odds with the city when he announced that he would not represent Oakland if it enacted a plan to license marijuana farms in the face of warnings from the county and the federal government.

Meanwhile, the East Bay Express is reporting today that "Russo donated at least $1,750 in the second-half of last year to the same three Alameda city leaders who ousted the last city manager."

From the Alameda side of it, the Express ran a piece last week about the disarray in the city's government:

A series of investigations, recriminations, and apparent reprisals have left Alameda government in disarray. Allegations of misconduct are now commonplace, lawsuits have been filed, and the city manager and city attorney have been ousted. The dismissals, coupled with unfilled positions for fire chief, police chief, and economic development director, also have left a gaping hole in city leadership. The situation has undermined the faith Alameda voters place in their elected officials. "Alameda is in turmoil," said former Vice Mayor A.J. "Lil" Arnerich.

The previous city manager, Ann Marie Gallant, was hired on an interim basis, but not interim enough for the city council, apparently. It put her on paid administrative leave in January after a series of political quarrels, which you can read about in the Bay Citizen.