Dellums names new city administrator

January 29, 2009 6:33:08 PM PST
Some long awaited changes at Oakland City Hall took place on Thursday. The mayor announced he's appointed a new city administrator who replaces the one forced out over the summer amid scandal.

"Sometimes along the way you've just got to stand up, plant your feet and make a decision," said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

After being criticized for doing exactly the opposite of that, Mayor Ron Dellums finally named a new city administrator to fill an important city job that has been without a permanent replacement since last year. The last city administrator, Deborah Edgerly, was fired in July amid allegations of nepotism and that she tipped a family member to a police gang crackdown.

On Thursday, Dellums said his long-time aide who has been filling the role temporarily, Dan Lindheim, will take the $216,000 a year job on a permanent basis.

"Those things don't happen overnight and we have to be mature and adult about all of that," said Dellums.

Dellums' City Hall critics have blasted him for taking so long to fill the role.

"He's very cautious and he ponders and the only thing I can encourage him to do is make these decisions sooner and quicker," said Jane Brunner, the City Council president.

As the city faces a $108 million deficit over the next two years and could lay off workers, Dellums said he's restructuring the highest ranks of his administration by eliminating some jobs, filling other vacancies and adding two new positions -- a $125,000 a year role for a director of public-private partnerships to focus on business development and a new public safety coordinator for the same amount.

"It's all the same pot of money," said Dellums.

Even with these new positions filled, there are still two other high level city jobs in the Dellums Administration that remain unfilled right now -- the city's fire chief and the economic development director. And with this week's news that the police chief is resigning, many are wondering how long it's going to take Mayor Dellums to fill that important role.

The reaction on Oakland's streets is mixed.

"I feel good about what he's doing," said Michel, an Oakland resident.

"I can't really think of any accomplishments that I've would say, 'Oh I'm so glad he's our mayor,'" said Bob Jaffe, owner of the Grand Bakery.