Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 17, 2014

Dictionary definition

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

When last we left off in the great saga of Ann Marie Gallant and her many lawsuits against the City of Alameda.   She had just lost her first appeals case and the lower court that the appeal was kicked back to essentially ruled that Ann Marie Gallant had no case against the City of Alameda.  They also awarded the City lawyers fees for the whole debacle to the tune of $330K.  Naturally, Ann Marie Gallant did not go quietly into the night and turned around, hired new counsel and filed another appeal.  That appeal was riddled with procedural problems from the start but eventually corrected itself just in time for briefs to be filed, answered to be filed and probably another cool $50K in legal fees expended between both parties.

Essentially from my quickie read of Ann Marie Gallant’s briefs, her lawyers are hinging on her case being kicked back to the lower court because the judge didn’t use the correct definition of the word “terminated.”   Ann Marie Gallant’s lawyers say that the dictionary definition is the right one and the City says, nuh uh, we’re going to use the terms of the actual contract itself.  You know, four corners, contracts 101, that sort of thing.

Anyway, here they both are, both Ann Marie Gallant’s opening brief and the City’s response.  Don’t say I never got you guys anything.

Amusingly enough, the City’s response pointed out that at this point, Ann Marie Gallant has spent more time locked in litigation with the City of Alameda than she ever did actually serving as its Interim City Manager.   I found that both funny and depressing at the same time.


  1. Every top level City employee who loses their job seems to have beaucoup bucks to sue the City. Could it be we pay them too much? Nah.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 17, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  2. Denise, she is placing her bet just as if she were at the table in Vegas. In three other places she worked she successfully sued for wrongful discharge and got very big settlements. She is clearly hoping that her pattern will hold and big money in the form of a settlement will be coming her way. Her contract as Interim City Manager was not renewed and the City gave her the required (by the contract) notice of intent not to renew, but she, and others, saw this as a “termination” of employment as if she were a civil service employee, not a contract employee. And that is the crux of the argument. I don’t think, based on my many years of experience with government HR work, that she will prevail. However, it is worth it to her to see if she can get a payoff.

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 17, 2014 @ 8:36 am

  3. If only she’d had the sense to pay off a few council members, she & us could have avoided this mess. It’s a great credit to Russo that he had the selfless forethought to write some campaign checks, thus saving us all a heartache like this one.

    Comment by dave — September 17, 2014 @ 9:02 am

  4. Gallant’s behavior since she departed Alameda has only reinforced the wisdom of the City Council’s termination of her contract. It is “Sad,” indeed, and “depressing” to see an adult who seems incapable of owning responsibility for her own actions, but I can also see how she would–to be consistent–want to avoid paying the $330K in legal fees that she now owes Alameda. Again, very sad….(Almost as bad as comment #3…)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 17, 2014 @ 9:22 am

  5. Or alternately Ann Marie Gallant could have opted to not sue the City.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 17, 2014 @ 9:39 am

  6. #5–True, but it would have been inconsistent with her values and her “modus operandi” for her to not sue Alameda…. (a sadness).

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 17, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  7. I think the term for her action is being “all in”. Have current legal fees already exceeded the total amount she received as salary during her tenure? what’s another $50K?

    Comment by MI — September 17, 2014 @ 10:11 am

  8. #3 Gallant did try direct Cowan’s contributions to her favored council candidates in 2010, but her candidates lost (Mataresse for Mayor and Johnson for council).

    Comment by Chuck — September 17, 2014 @ 11:15 am

  9. Let’s be sure to go after our money and chase her through bankruptcy if she files. She is a politician and well knew what she was getting into. Whether she was right or wrong in that game, I don’t care. Coming out on the losing end of it did not give her the right to an extension of a two year contract or to reach into our pockets again. We don’t pay taxes for your personal enrichment. The decent response would have been to accept her final months of pay with no duties and walk away. Conscious choice not to do the decent thing.

    Comment by MP — September 17, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

  10. Thank you for posting the briefs. I got about a third of the way through Gallant’s before I fell asleep. Ms. Gallant, what are your damages? We paid you to the end of your two year term, even after you were relieved of duties. I pray that if my contract is ever “terminated”, it is done in that way.

    Comment by MP — September 17, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  11. Wow, read through City’s response and pretty shocked (even pleased) at how critical it was of the former City Attorney (Highsmith) and Colantuono and their attempt at a “palace coup.” Even seems to accuse Highsmith of violating the Brown Act for closed session use.

    Comment by Real Homeowners of the the Gold Coast — September 17, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

  12. MP, it looks like you weren’t’ the only one that fell asleep. Johnson was asleep at the switch to allow so many ethical breaches on the palace coup with Highsmith and Gallant. There are sufficient grounds for disbarment of Highsmith for hiring Colantuno then going to work for him while still getting paid by Alameda taxpayers, and her legal understanding of the Brown Act was sorely lacking. Good thing the new mayor and council fired her.

    Comment by Chuck — September 18, 2014 @ 9:28 am

  13. Hell hath no fury…..

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — September 23, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

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