Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 2, 2012

Kern counsel

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Happy New Year everyone!   I hope everyone had a really good holiday, I did and it went by too quickly.

The big news is right now (aside from the recent Supreme Court ruling about Redevelopment agencies — but that’s another topic for another day) is that the City has finalized a pick for City Attorney.  At tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, the full Council will vote to finalize a contract with Janet C. Kern as Alameda newest City Attorney.   Recall that the City Attorney search occurred shortly after former City Attorney Teresa Highsmith retired after taking a second job with the law firm of Colantuono and Levin as the City Attorney for the City of Barstow.    There was a whole round of resume sorting, interviews and then the process was rebooted because the first search attempt was unsuccessful.   Of course, in grand Alameda tradition there was lots of speculation about who was in the running including a lot of conjecture based on inaccurate sighting during the closed session interviews held at City Hall West.   This selection comes from the second round of searches which was restarted at the end of October.   The Council selected Janet C. Kern, most recently of the City of San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency.

As an aside, I’ll say that incoming City Attorney Janet C. Kern certainly picked the right time to jump ship from a Redevelopment Agency given the recent Supreme Court ruling which allows the dismantling of the Redevelopment Agencies statewide, but again, another topic for another day.

According to the Staff Report, here’s a short backgrounder on Janet Kern:

Ms. Kern’s most recent experience was as Deputy Executive Director for the City of San Jose Redevelopment Agency, a position she held for three years. She served as the City Attorney for the City of Morgan Hill for over two years from 2006 to 2008 and as the Senior Associate Counsel with the City of San Jose for over eight years. She has been a member of the California Bar Association since 1991 and earned her J. D. from the University of Utah College of Law in 1984.

There’s a bit more info about her here and a photo:

And some more relevant highlights from her bio:

She oversees the Project Management, Finance, Transactions & Real Estate and Transportation & Strategic Planning Divisions.

As Deputy Executive Director, Janet Kern plans, organizes, manages and is accountable  for the successful implementation of redevelopment strategies/programs and specific public and private projects in San Jose’s Merged Area Redevelopment Area.

Prior to being appointed Deputy Executive Director in July 2008, Janet Kern served as  Senior Deputy General Counsel to the Agency for eight years. Janet Kern was a key player in the successful completion of numerous projects such as the Convention Center Marriott Hotel, rehabilitation of historic buildings such as the Letitia, Security, Masson and Dr. Eu buildings, development of major mixed use projects such as The 88 high-rise condominium, retail and parking garage project, as well as preparing and implementing programs such as adoption of the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative Redevelopment Plan and revised
Downtown development plans.

Janet Kern is a seasoned transactional attorney, with significant deal-making experience in both the private and public sector having negotiated, documented and implemented mergers, acquisitions, financings, facilities development (permitting, construction and operations), joint ventures and numerous multi-party contracts and agreements for multibillion dollar international companies in the telecommunications, environmental services and building products sectors.

I think it’s really interesting that the City Council selected someone with so much development and real estate experience which will probably come in handy once Alameda Point is fully conveyed to the City.   According to the staff report her starting date will be January 9 and she has a three year contract.  Her salary is $190,000 which is a shade under what Teresa Highsmith was taking in salary wise.




  1. I am glad to see this position filled. It is an important one and we have a lot on our plate right now. I have heard that the position of HR Director has also been filled. Karen Willis’ last day was just a week ago so the fill was very timely. HR is another important post that requires a lot of foresight and expertise.

    Comment by Kate Quick.ze — January 2, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  2. At least some sense was shown in choosing the starting salary. They dodged a bullet there. Looks like a possible job hopper though. This is a nice town. If some of these officials actually chose to live here, they might stay. I wish her luck. She’s inherited a lot of crap. As a former HR manager, I must say the role is universally misunderstood. No real power there but the appearance of power can make an HR manager dangerous and the lower you are on the totem pole, the more dangerous they become. Only a sociopath can do the job really well, or stay in it for long. I quit (but that was back in the 80s when sane people actually quit jobs).

    Comment by Denise Shelton — January 2, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  3. Great selection for city attorney. Also the council is looking at selecting Keyser Marston & Assoc to prepare an economic development strategy for Alameda Point. Looks like a great team is being assembled!

    Comment by Karen Bey — January 2, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  4. Boo Cal…Yea Ducks

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 2, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  5. Good to see the City go with someone from outside. She does have a lot of crap to deal with, including re-tooling that office and clearing out probably one than one person. she doesn’t seem to have much experience in labor/employment or litigation issues also, which will be big for the city. After several years of people who do not know anything about negotiating and dealing with the base (AMG, TH, Korade, Kurita, Brandt to name a few), Kern seems like a nice choice. As posted before though, it seems that we can read that she is really the 3rd choice for this position, and likely has to deal with an attorney in the office who is not happy to have not gotten the nod.

    Comment by Just as Vigilant — January 2, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  6. Does this seem like a calculated get it approved with little notice or ability for the public’s involvement? Seems like that is how this recruitment has happened throughout.

    Comment by New Year Baby — January 3, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  7. Starting salary = $190,000. Good thing Alameda has a lot of extra money to spare. This was a going salary when the economy was booming. Attorneys all over the state have been laid off and large firms closed.

    Comment by Dave — January 3, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  8. Reality check:Keyser Marston prepared the previous 5-yr APIP[AlPo Improvement Project] Plan, dated Dec 2010. It is notable for a total absence of the concepts:”historical district” or “cultural landscape”, despite the voluminous Navy documents prepared on these subjects. Hopefully, this time KM will address the upcoming 500-pg CLR. Meanwhile, according to the most recent SMP[Site Management Plan], final cleanup dates for several base sites have been moved up to 2020 AD.
    Too bad Ben Reyes didn’t end up as our next CA. I have a lot of respect for someone who can get the slacker Catholics at SPN to kneel during the priest’s communion!

    Comment by vigi — January 3, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  9. LOL New Year Baby. This recruitment, which has been going on for months, has been eagle-eyed by nearly everyone who cares in town. Speculation has been rife; rumors have abounded; mis-statements as to who “has it in the bag” have been made. If you didn’t hear anything about it, I guess you were not following the formal and informal news.

    Comment by Kate Quick.ze — January 3, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  10. come on Kate, notice of the choice during Xmas/NYE Break and approval set for 1st day back from the holiday break, that is slipping one in no doubt.

    Comment by New Year Baby — January 3, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  11. Could be the choice was made before the holidays, and the announcement of it deferred until things were “back to post holiday normal”. But, if you really like conspiracies, go for it! The process has been ongoing for months and I am sure the Council and the CM wanted to bring closure to getting a permanent City Attorney as quickly as possible, once they had a viable candidate and a contract both could live with.

    Comment by Kate Quick.ze — January 4, 2012 @ 6:51 am

  12. Forgot to mention, it was on a 5-0 vote, so no member of the Council was adverse to this candidate. Also, no one spoke against her, or commented on the process. Much ado about nothing, NYB.

    Comment by Kate Quick.ze — January 4, 2012 @ 6:53 am

  13. and no public present to comment for a position that has been very controversial and has had a rocky recruitment (reportedly). Hmmmm

    Comment by New Year Baby — January 4, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  14. 9,13: A post made to this blog on December 19 by Just As Vigilant apparently contained “factual errors” so not everything we have seen posted here has been accurate.

    As Kate has said, the decision to hire Janet Kern as our new City Attorney was a consensus decision that was probably made with the support of many city staffers who are directly affected. It would have been extremely unwise for our City Council to have acted otherwise, and they have made smart personnel decisions so far.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 4, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  15. Jon.. Below is my response to your Statement from the Patch. They seem to have Technical Difficulties on my posts and some just never appear. Imagine that.

    Jon Spangler
    4:25 pm on Saturday, December 31, 2011

    John, you keep harping on teacher pay versus student performance when many, many other factors are adversely affecting our public schools.

    Many things have changed–many for the worse–since you and I attended public schools decades ago. As diversity increases (often a good thing) English language skills have declined overall it is much harder to teach English in a classroom where a dozen different non-English native languages are represented, for example, than in a class with just 1-3 languages are represented. When economic stability decreases and social isolation increases (and both have occurred on a number of fronts in the USA since the 1960s with increased mobility, lower marriage rates, and other factors) a teacher’s job gets tougher, too. Public investments in infrastructure (schools, communications, roads, bridges) have not kept pace with population growth or even kept pace with maintenance needs. Income disparities between rich and poor are increasing, too.

    Teachers are faced with all of these problems but do not have better resources overall than they did in 1969 when i graduated from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA. But they are being asked to deal with momentous social, economic, and cultural upheavals as if we all still lived in Mayberry in 1965….

    9:56 am on Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Jon if you have 1000 Employees and 10000 students you better understand what you are doing. Your in the Education Business and you have Failed a large part of your Students in Educating them , But your Compensation to the people putting you here has risen to the Top. All the excuses you listed are not new phenomenon. The State has all the Latest Economic Information at their Finger Tips. If you Choose to ignore it and cover it all up with excuses it will never be dealt with. Lets just pass another Ballot Measure and Get more Money for ourselves blame it on the Socio Economic Factors Mantra.

    Tens of Millions of Dollars are being Spent on Education Salary’s in Alameda yearly. I don’t know how many Alameda Business’s net profit it would take to just meet that Salary,Pension and Benefits obligation. I’m sure Most.

    These Ballot Measures are just kicking the Can down the road and keep rewarding the people that have taken us from Tops in Education to the Absolute Cellar in Student Performance.

    Comment by John — January 4, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  16. 14, I don’t know how to find the old posts or where that one is. whate were the errors posted?

    Comment by New Year Baby — January 4, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  17. NYB — Did you speak at last night’s council meeting on the City Attorney appointment or at the July 30 meeting, or at the September, October, November or December meetings?

    Comment by Alan — January 4, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  18. 17, no work usually keeps me out of town in the North Bay until too late. Did send emails to the City though with no response.

    Comment by New Year Baby — January 4, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  19. 15
    John, I wouldn’t get too worked up about the schools. They’ll soon be declared discriminatory.

    EEOC: High school diploma requirement might violate Americans with Disabilities Act

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 4, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  20. John:

    When preaching about schools and education, it helps to display a basic command of grammar & spelling standards. Perhaps if you did, readers might be fooled into thinking you’re an educated person.

    Comment by Tapan Venäläiset — January 4, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  21. I’m not into fooling anyone Tapan…….Probably why we don’t have much in common….I’m still trying to learn and very much a lightweight education wise compared to some of the brilliant minds that share their insights here.

    I do try and raise some vital questions regarding problems and try and assess relevant information. I might use abstract ideas to interpret and come to what I think are well reasoned conclusions. They might not agree with your thinking or ideologies.

    I apologize for not using a spell checker and too frkn lazy. Substance has always been way more important than style to me. As is Character of a person versus whether they dotted i i i . Fortunately or unfortunately someone always did my typing and I just winged it. Plus I’m a two finger typer.

    I see the obvious typo’s and misspellings and some grammatical errors from hell and after I feel like an idiot. But certainly am not going to waste two more lines on a blog trying to PATCH UP.

    But you seem to be the only A Hole to point out. I’m sure your alot of fun at a party.

    Comment by John — January 5, 2012 @ 12:52 am

  22. 19

    Jack…Everything is starting to read like MAD magazine in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s all becoming a joke.

    Comment by John — January 5, 2012 @ 1:14 am

  23. post #20, Tapan, if your only problem on this blog is how we spell or put sentences together, you would be busy all day just correcting our grammar.
    John.. I don’t think you have to worry about your grades anymore, its to late for us.

    Comment by John P. — January 5, 2012 @ 10:23 am

  24. 20 “…readers might be fooled…” Does it work for you?

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 5, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  25. John P

    My Grades kinda always sucked. I was always busy playing sports, working, chasing girls and grades came in way out of the Money.

    I was able to fool those people 40 miles to the south to offer me a scholarship to be a Indian AKA Tree but I opted to be a Devil in the Sun. Spent six years working my way through school and Playing golf and looking at girls at the pool and pretending to be at college while being a major participate of the 24 hour Nightclub Called ASU.Some semester I didn’t have the money to pay the tuition so just went to lectures and attended classes of the most interesting professors who wowed the students. So not really too bright by anyone standards. Twister was alot bigger than spelling on my list.

    Comment by John — January 5, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  26. 16:

    NYB, here’s the link and the post.

    Speaking of leadership what I have heard about the City Attorney recruitment from some City Hall dwellers has been a doozy. 3 finalists were apparently chosen, and it sounds to me like the first choice declined for some reason (believe that was Wan from Morgan Hill). 2nd choice accepted (believe from Pleasant Hill) and discussed with City Manager the position. She was told that she needed to finish the layoff of an attorney that is in process (Deputy City Attorney) and also should touch base with the current Acting City Attorney as she will be her boss. Number 3 choice was the Acting City Attorney and she went off on the 2nd choice during the phone call to inform her. Mayor calls 2nd choice and says something like “What were you thinking?” 2nd choice says “No thank you” at this point and decides not to make the move. 3rd choice is no longer an option.
    So now another recruitment is in effect. No that’s leadership!
    Comment by Just as Vigilant — December 19, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 5, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  27. 21. “I’m not into fooling anyone…..” right. that’s why you post anonymously.

    Comment by M.I. — January 7, 2012 @ 9:25 am

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