Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 1, 2011

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Tonight the City Council will be finalizing the community representatives panel for the City Manager search. While each City Council person has yet to disclose the names of their individual selection (that will be done tonight) the five community group representatives have been tentatively identified as:

  • Margie Sherratt, Vice President – Board of Education , Alameda Unified School District
  • Jordan Battani , President – Alameda Hospital Board
  • Dr. Jannett Jackson , President – College of Alameda
  • Doug Biggs, Director – Alameda Point Collaborative
  • Jeff Cambra – Alameda Business Alliance

And the remaining five will be selected and the whole panel will have an opportunity to meet with the three finalists who have been identified as Oakland City Attorney John Russo, former Alameda Assistant City Manager (and current City Manager in Redmond, OR) David Brandt, and Millbrae City Manager Marcia Raines.

And speaking of Marcia Raines, since she was/is the most unknown of the bunch, I did a bit of Googling. There isn’t a lot out there, but here’s what I was able to find.

Currently, Marcia Raines is the City Manager of Millbrae. It’s a smallish City, according to Wikipedia the population in 2000 was about 20K. In December of 2010, her contract with the City of Millbrae was extended and amended. While she did not receive a pay raise, she did receive more vacation time. The amendment also allowed for a 90 day termination notice that either side can initiate. Marcia Raines appears to have the backing of at least three of the members of the Millbrae City Council. One defending her vacation compensation and the two others “expressed confidence in Raines’ ability to lead the city to a healthier, stronger future.”

Before her job in Millbrae, Marcia Raines was the City Manager in Half Moon Bay (pop. 12K in 2000). Three weeks before she resigned as the City Manager for HMB, through a contract clause, she was given a pay raise. The clause in her contract basically said that the City Manager gets paid 10% more than the highest paid employee in the city. So when the Council voted to increase the salary of the Planning Director and Police Chief, they indirectly voted to increase her salary as well. (Note to Alameda City Council: do not write this type of clause into ANY employee contract)

She resigned three weeks later after only two years on the job in HMB (she was hired in 2006). The biggest issue that folks may be interested from her time in HMB is she was the City Manager when the HMB City Council decided to settle with developer Chop Keenan over the Beachwood property — I discussed the issue here and here. Just to follow up, the HMB settled with the developer for $18 million (the original court judgment was $40+ million) and was forced to issue $15 million in bonds to pay off the debt.

So pros and cons for Marcia Raines.

On the pros side of the list, she has worked as a City Manager since 2006 (before HMB she was San Mateo County’s Director of Environmental Services.) Marcia Raines will definitely understand the day-to-day activities of running a city.

She definitely has the experience working with cities in much worse shape financially than Alameda. She, of course, was faced with the prospect of the $18 million settlement and a downturn in the economy in general which forced her to make seriously hard cuts and difficult decisions to keep HMB out of bankruptcy.

She probably understands land planning from her work as the San Mateo County Director of Environmental Services (the county Planning and Building department fell under her jurisdiction).

On the con side, the job jumping is a bit of a red flag and is probably the thing that makes me the most nervous. It appears from her last two jobs she gets restless after about two years with a city and then starts looking for the next opportunity available. Added to the mix is the weirdness that the resignations or job hunting always seems to happen right after either a pay or benefit increase.

Just based on media reports, there isn’t that much to go on to evaluate Marcia Raines. An open thread in HMB after her resignation announcements had mixed comments from the community, which isn’t unusual. The Millbrae thread on Patch hasn’t been as mixed and trend toward the negative. Actually, I’m going to add the lack of news reports about her as a positive, because it means that she largely has kept her head down and out of the public light.

Finding out more about Marcia Raines is where the community panel will be really important.


  1. Interesting clip posted by OK-Land yesterday (#20) showing Russo speaking to young Democrats. City municipal services union bashing, I could dig that. Circumvent, don’t try to change the OK Charter (joisting at rainbows) by allowing non-profits (among others -ex-cons-) to do city work. Kinda weird.

    Wonder if this city has same exclusive Union rights as Oakland which disallows competitive bids for municipal work.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 1, 2011 @ 9:12 am

  2. Lauren, onece again an Americana reference, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” I LOVE IT!! You’re do clever.

    Anyway, I too am on the anyone but Russo mantra. I just don’t like the feel of it. I like Russo. I think he’s smart and has managed to tread through the Oakland waters nicely. However, I do not want to introduce the Oakland style of politicking here in Alameda. I know, I know, things have gotten nasty over the years, but we’re no Oakland. Russo doesn’t fit here.

    Now Marcia, her track record sounds familiar. Bouncing from job to job to job…hmmm, who does that sound like? ANN MARIE GALLANT maybe!! Now, I am not prepared to say that Marcia is nearly as wicked and deceitful as Gallant, but her employment record mirrors Gallants. I have an idea. Let’s just bring David Brandt back and never speak of Gallant again. We can pretend that Gallant and her hijinx partner Highsmith, maybe I should call them lowjinx, never existed. We can wake up like in Oz, or Dallas and pretend it never happened. We could make a solemn promise to never ever mention them again. I think I just endorsed Brandt. Yup, I did. He’s the right fit for this community. He knows us. Has served us. Took time away to get more seasoning, and is ready to come back to help. That sounds good to me.

    Comment by yolanda — March 1, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  3. I like that that the Council is going thru this process and including so many people. I like the transparency. I like a lot of things, but the candidate pool seems, well, seems, shallow. You have a celebrity, John Russo. Who regardless of what you think will be a lightning rod candidate and from day one will be seen a pandering and playing politics, no matter what. So to that I ask, why do it?

    You have the mystery woman Marcia Raines. I suspect we could find her on a city manager milk carton, there’s so little known about her. That’s kind of strange. Oh, and the fact that she’s only worked in these teeny cities, I agree with the writer who says it sounds too much like Gallant. Although Gallant had plenty of bad press, I suspect after Frank, Bev and DeHaan drank the Kool-Aid they didn’t think of checking references. Anyway, Marcia scares me.

    Then we have David Brandt. We know him. He was hired by Kurita. I like that he went away to gain more experience, but he went to a far away, small city, in OREGON, for crying out loud.

    I just feel like the pool, though full of great people, doesn’t have depth. I mean, to the naked eye, it seems like they want us to gravitate to Russo, and I feel like I’m doing the exact opposite.

    I say to the Council, sharpen your pencils again.

    Comment by Do-botichypnotic — March 1, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  4. 3: David Brandt worked in the City Attorney’s office in Alameda before becoming Assistant City Manager here, so saying that Debra Kurita hired him may mislead some readers. He was promoted from within the City staff and has a long track record of excellent service here.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 1, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  5. I believe he was hired before Kurita, he was hired in 95 or 96. Could have been a Flint hire but I’m not sure.

    Comment by John piziali — March 1, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

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