Investigation’s Timeline of Fire Chief Hire Process

 

The report by Michael Jenkins released earlier this month detailed the timeline of the city’s fire chief appointment process. 

The ordeal began in March 2017 when former Alameda Fire Department (AFD) Fire Chief Doug Long informed City Manager Jill Keimach he would be retiring. Long publically announced his retirement in April 2017, but his official retirement date would come on Sept. 22, 2017. 

According to Keimach, Long told her he was already grooming Mark Sample, AFD Division Chief, for his position. Keimach told him she did not think he would be suitable for the job. She wanted to conduct an open recruitment for Long’s replacement. Keimach and her staff then hired Teri Black & Company, LLC, to manage the recruitment process for the position. 

In a meeting with Keimach on April 27, 2017, Alameda firefighter union, International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 689, President Jeff DelBono expressed his wishes for Domenick Weaver to be hired as the new fire chief. Weaver is a retired AFD fire captain and former Alameda firefighter union president.

In June, Keimach met with DelBono after he heard Keimach was actively recruiting Moraga Fire Chief Stephen Healy. Keimach said she was not actively recruiting him, but would send him a job brochure to apply for the position. DelBono then told Keimach that he would “send out a statewide notice that no one needed to apply for the fire chief position,” according to the report.   

The official recruitment for the fire chief position began on July 3. On July 10, Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft met with a member of the fire union who asked for her to support Weaver as the next fire chief. Ashcraft said the fire chief’s hiring was not her decision and she would not support any applicant. After the meeting Ashcraft received a call from her political consultant who said he talked to the same union member. He expressed that the union member was not happy that she would not help. 

During this time, members of Local 689 solicited several public officials to write letters of recommendation supporting Weaver. Keimach received letters of recommendation from John Russo, president of the San Francisco Fire Union Tom O’Conner and former AFD Division Chief Matthew Tunney. The union members also asked Councilmember Oddie to write a letter, which he agreed he would. 

Around this time Keimach confided in an unnamed person that she felt pressure from Oddie and Vice Mayor Malia Vella to hire Weaver. The unnamed person said that Keimach told her the pressure from the two Councilmembers bothered her.

On July 31, Keimach received additional letters recommending Weaver from numerous officials such as California Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Long, Executive Secretary Treasurer of Alameda Labor Council Josie Camacho, Oddie and more. Oddie’s letter would later be deemed a violation of the Alameda City Charter.

 

Check back next week for part two of this timeline.