Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 16, 2018

Not that kind of settlement

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am


Just when you thought it was about justice for Jill Keimach, this last tweet really shows how the demands to release the recordings are more about political posturing rather than anything else.  Apparently Jill Keimach is satisfied by the payout, I mean, settlement that she doesn’t need the “truth” to get out there in the form of the recordings any longer.

Reading between the lines, the fact that Malia Vella, who was one of the taped members, elected to not agree to the settlement, probably meant that there was no there there when it came to her recorded comments.  Kind of like what happened with the report itself.  A lot of people assuming that she was embroiled in something nefarious and turned out to be a lot of nothing.

On the other hand, Jim Oddie voted for the settlement so…you know…read into that what you will.

The terms, according to Steven Tavares at the East Bay Citizen:

Keimach will receive $257,400 in severance payments paid over one year, along with health benefits for 18 months.

The city will also pay Keimach a $519,709 separation payment in the form of an annuity to be split over two installments in August 2018 and February 2019. In addition, the city is also on the hook for $125,000 in attorney’s fees to Keimach’s lawyer, Cannata, O’Toole, Fickes & Almazan LLP.

The agreement prohibits Keimach from any litigation against the city arising from her employment and allowed for the public release of the separation settlement and is not an admission of liability by either Keimach or the city, according to the agreement.



  1. Reading between the lines, the fact that Malia Vella, who was one of the taped members, elected to not agree to the settlement, probably meant that there was no there there when it came to her recorded comments.

    – – – – –

    Perhaps. Without knowing more, it is fair to speculate that that is why M. Vella would join Mayor Spencer in voting against the Council majority

    I’ll go way out on a limb and suggest that the best source for whether there was any “there there” on the tape would be the tape itself.

    Comment by MP — May 16, 2018 @ 6:20 am

    • Perhaps, call me crazy, setting the precedent of making illegal recordings public w/out any clear legal justification might not be in the long term best interests of the public, or the individuals who have reasonable expectations of discretion.

      Comment by BMac — May 16, 2018 @ 11:33 am

      • Yes, see my comments below on that. What you are saying is not crazy. I would be concerned that rampant taping would alter the landscape. I do not favor body-cams for politicians, city employees or other interested parties with mandatory activation 15 minutes before until 15 minutes after any campaign contribution, etc (or even during the entirety of any Lime Bike experience for liability mitigation purposes). But leaving aside whether “making illegal recordings w/out any clear legal justification”, is an assumption here (or a tautology), I’m not so sure we would be setting an a big precedent, or an original one (see below). In this case, it meant the end of the road for Keimach, whether what she did was legal or illegal. If that is the precedent, then it is more likely to be a one-off (though, again, see below) and not one that many would want to follow (unless they are attracted by the prospect of taking a shot at wrongful termination litigation).

        OK now time to call me crazy. Without knowing more (a lot more), I’m reluctant to assume that someone’s vote to disapprove the settlement “probably means that there was no there there when it came to her recorded comments”, and have trouble accepting the assertions that Keimach’s allegations about interference were “baseless”, that “none of her allegations against me had any basis in fact” (or “any basis in reality”), and that the “truth” has now come out, when the tape of the disputed conversation itself has not come out or been considered. Am I crazy for not accepting without skepticism those political statements when the as-yet unconsidered tape that would remove the doubt? Those are bold claims to be making without also calling for release of the tape at the same time.

        Comment by MP — May 16, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

  2. Reading between the lines, the fact that Malia Vella, who was one of the taped members, elected to not agree to the settlement, probably meant that there was no there there when it came to her recorded comments.


    Perhaps. But Ms. Vella’s vehement denial of wrongdoing doesn’t square with her strident resistance to the tape’s release. It’s really strange that a person would claim righteous virtue so loudly & then attempt to hide evidence of said virtue.

    Comment by dave — May 16, 2018 @ 6:40 am

    • When has she stridently resisted the tape’s release? I don’t think she’s commented publicly about it anywhere. Silence on an issue does not indicate resistance or consent.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 16, 2018 @ 9:40 am

      • I recall a tweet of hers, will try to dig up.

        But it would even easier for Ms Vella, who occasionally graces these pages with her presence, to come to this thread now and tell us she favors release to clear up any remaining controversy.

        Ms Vella, we await your response.

        Comment by dave — May 16, 2018 @ 10:30 am

    • yeah dave, did you mean to say “strident abstention re …”? Can one stridently abstain?

      Comment by MP — May 16, 2018 @ 9:47 am

    • What is recorded on the tape doesn’t matter anymore, because Lauren and JohnPTrump will hear “Laurel” , while everyone else will hear “Yanny”.

      Comment by vigi — May 16, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

  3. Steve T@EBC: Benghazi? Really? Come on, dude.

    Comment by MP — May 16, 2018 @ 6:44 am

  4. Really glad that Jill Keimach received a good settlement, and now hopefully we as a City can move on.

    Regarding the tape, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would agree to releasing a recorded tape that was taken without their consent – would you?

    If Keimach can move on – so can the rest of us!

    Comment by Karen — May 16, 2018 @ 7:16 am

    • I can’t stand the hearing the sound of my own voice on tape, so for that reason, no. If I didn’t like the substance of the tape, then no. If I was proud of the substance of the tape, then probably yes. If you ask in the abstract without regard to the substance of the tape, then probably no, especially if part of my calculation was counting on being able to say things while transacting public business without being recorded. I’d say the same about my tax returns which, by law, are confidential.

      But I am answering all those questions as me and, in general, no, I wouldn’t like it, if it were me. I understand why the councilmembers personally don’t like the idea of releasing the tape, or may not see it in their interests.

      They may even have a broader purpose in mind that would be promoted by decrying – this time at least – taping for fear that it might become a more generalized political practice (an argument that might be understood by public office holders might be that what comes around, goes around). Remember this is not the first tape recording that has arisen in the context of fire dept-city politics.


      Unchecked, such an impulse to record politicians might be dangerous (especially to the politicians) and especially if fanned by expressions of a public appetite such as:

      “Seriously, whoever has this tape, I want it. I would cherish it and throw it up on YouTube and make it all fancy and stuff with photos and spinning graphics and cross fades and Ken Burns effects and everything. I’ll never disclose your identity. Think about it!” 2015/05/13

      On the other hand, I am a member of the public and I read about three different versions of the same meeting that was recorded, and I read also about new claims that the original allegations relating to the meeting were “baseless” and likely the product of the accuser (Jill Keimach)’s “anxiety”, and that the “truth” has now come out, while the tape recording of the meeting was not considered and remains under wraps and the city is paying a $900K settlement.

      I am also a member of the public that has been told all sorts of stuff by DJT about what is and isn’t in his tax returns (and, yes, I am more worried about what is contained in the tax returns than what is on the tape). There is not a perfect analogy, but in both cases I don’t think I can answer the question of whether it is fair or proper for the public to ask for disclosure by simply asking myself whether I would like it if I were in the public official’s shoes. I am most definitely not (and I do admire their willingness to subject themselves to public scrutiny).

      I agree that the city has other issues to deal with. Disclosure might even be the most expeditious way of moving on, especially, and hopefully, if there is no there, there. Either way, it’s probably safe to assume that councilmembers are capable of dealing with this controversy at the same time as they deal with other city issues. Put another way, it’s unlikely that the public’s legitimate interest in how its city actually works is going to make the Council function any worse or better than it currently does (well, hopefully better).

      Comment by MP — May 16, 2018 @ 9:01 am

  5. when a city manager get’s involved in the local politics, instead of doing the job of administrator that city manger won’t last very long. doesn’t matter which side the city manger chooses it will be the wrong side.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — May 16, 2018 @ 8:05 am

    • The CM didn’t get involved in the politics, the politics got involved with the CM

      Comment by dave — May 16, 2018 @ 8:09 am

      • And you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!

        Comment by Rod — May 16, 2018 @ 2:18 pm

  6. nice try Dave, like I have posted before all she had to do was tell council members that she could not have that conversation with them. Then refer them to the city attorney. instead she decided to invite them to her office and make an illegal secret recording. now she is gone .

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — May 16, 2018 @ 8:20 am

    • It started because council members chose to pressure her. That was the genesis of the whole thing.

      Now she is gone, as she should be. But she isn’t the only one that needs gone.

      Comment by dave — May 16, 2018 @ 9:06 am

      • that’s what elections are for.

        Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — May 16, 2018 @ 9:10 am

        • Report says Oddie violated charter. Charter clearly states removal from office is penalty. Why wait for an election, why not instead follow both letter & spirit of the charter?

          Comment by dave — May 16, 2018 @ 9:22 am

    • Maybe. Options one and two may have both led to “now she is gone”. It is also unlikely that we will get a definitive answer to the “illegal” part unless there is some sort of prosecution or civil litigation in which a court resolves a question about the admissibility of the recording into evidence.

      Comment by MP — May 16, 2018 @ 9:14 am

      • good Dave, you should go to a council meeting and tell the council to get rid of a sitting council member, brilliant.

        Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — May 16, 2018 @ 9:27 am

        • Does the report not state that Oddie violated? Does the charter not state removal as the remedy?

          Why shouldn’t council do so immediately, their discomfort notwithstanding?

          Comment by dave — May 16, 2018 @ 9:40 am

        • Exactly how would that work, dave? The mechanism for removal is not described in the charter. Take away his City Hall keys? Remove his chair from the dais?

          Comment by vigi — May 16, 2018 @ 9:47 am

        • City of Santa Clara is instituting a policy of censure for errant councilmembers. Alameda doesn’t even have that.

          Comment by vigi — May 16, 2018 @ 9:48 am

  7. Moving On to more important things…

    From the article: “What we have noted is that local officials, once in office, find it difficult – or impossible – to take a stand against professionals who bargain on behalf of public employees. Sometimes, too, those elected leaders get too entrenched with the employees to make tough decisions. Additionally, some benefit by the very terms they are bargaining.”

    Comment by vigi — May 16, 2018 @ 12:38 pm

    • That’s a meme that should have just shown up as a picture. Sorry about the big long crazy URL. Still more readable than your average comment by vigi.

      Comment by Rod — May 16, 2018 @ 2:24 pm

      • You really like the word “meme” don’t you Rod? Wonder why.

        Comment by Jack — May 16, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

    • @vigi — If Ms. Keimach was “shady”, as you say, there would be no reason to pay her so much to 1) leave, and; 2) *not* sue for wrongful termination, and; 3) *not* sue under the whistleblower statute. If the City of Alameda was confident that Oddie, Vella, Kern, and DelBono were telling the truth, and that the investigator’s report was 100% accurate, and Ms. Keimach’s credibility was lacking, there would be no reason to pay her. They could simply fire her for cause, and let her “severance” be the total that she was paid while on administrative leave.

      The size of the payment, plus the $125k for her legal fees, says that she was right all along, and the City didn’t want the Court to decide who was credible & who wasn’t.

      Comment by CityZen — May 17, 2018 @ 4:03 pm

      • Sorry — this post is a reply to @Rod —

        Comment by CityZen — May 17, 2018 @ 4:04 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Say what you want

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at