Click image or here to see announcement of Police Chief Ron Davis'
appointment as East Palo Alto's interim city manager.
It's the type of news that might come as a complete surprise to many East Palo Alto residents and to those who are familiar with the city. But as striking as the news might be, it represents an unexpected change for the city. In a swift, decisive move, the East Palo Alto City Council selected the city's Chief of Police, Ron Davis, to become the interim city manager.
Davis' was selected to his new position in a special closed session attended by four of East Palo Alto's five city council members. Davis' selection comes two weeks after ML Gordon, the city's current manager, announced his retirement and a day after equally unexpected news surfaced that Gordon has been selected to become the new city manager in Mountain House, CA. (See article here about Gordon's selection.).
Shortly after Gordon's retirement announcement on January 30, council members agreed that any preliminary search to fill the city manager's position would start with a look at potentially qualified in-house candidates. Several city employees were discussed as possible candidates for the position, but the small pool of in-house candidates was soon narrowed to two people: Davis and Carlos Martinez, who is the East Palo Alto Redevelopment Agency Project Manager.
Four council members participated in the interviews, which were held on Thursday, February 16: Mayor Laura Martinez, Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica, and Council members David Woods and Carlos Romero. Council member Peter Evans was absent during the special council meeting
In speaking about his new position., Davis said, “It's a great opportunity to continue to serve my community.... I think it's an exciting time... and I'm honored to have been selected.”
Davis has served as East Palo Alto's Police Chief for nearly seven years and he received much media attention a few years ago when he became a top candidate for the position of chief of police in New Orleans, Seattle and Oakland.
Even with his selection to the position as East Palo Alto's Interim City Manager, Davis must still be formally appointed and sworn in, an action that is expected to take place at the East Palo Alto City Council's next regular meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, February 21.
But, according to City Attorney Kathleen Kane, Davis' appointment will still be contingent upon “a satisfactory conclusion of any necessary employment negotiations.”
Once the negotiations and the formal appointment are complete, Davis will officially assume his new position when Gordon leaves office on Friday, March 2.
During a discussion of Davis' selection, Kane acknowledged that it is a challenging time for the city, especially with the dissolution of the redevelopment agency in the city, the state of the economy, and other things that can potentially have a negative impact on the city. But, she said, “I' m confident we will rise to the occasion.”
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