The Berkeley mayor’s office has asked city officials to appoint Deputy City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley as interim city manager following the expected departure later this month of Christine Daniel.
Daniel announced in June that she would be leaving Berkeley to work for the city of Oakland as assistant city administrator. Her final day in Berkeley is set for Friday, July 24.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates announced Thursday afternoon in a prepared statement that he has formally asked the Berkeley City Council to appoint Williams-Ridley to serve on an interim basis until a permanent city manager can be selected.
The nomination is set to go before council at its July 14 meeting.
The mayor has recommended an annual salary of $225,000 for Williams-Ridley to match the current city manager salary, plus a $1,600 housing allowance.
“Ms. Williams-Ridley would be stepping up for an important role,” Bates said in the statement. “Her executive experience, skill in fostering effective teamwork, and strong commitment to public service and community engagement have made a very favorable impression at City Hall.”
The Berkeley City Council discussed how to proceed with its search for the new city manager on Tuesday evening in a closed session, but did not take a vote. Bates said his nomination followed that meeting, where no objections had been raised about the proper course forward.
Williams-Ridley became Berkeley’s deputy city manager in February. She came from Modesto where she had been the deputy city manager for four years, overseeing its Human Resources, Public Information, Information Technology, Public Works and the Community and Economic Development departments. She also worked as Modesto’s human resources director, after working as assistant director of human resources for San Mateo County and personnel services manager for Sacramento County.
According to Thursday’s statement from the mayor’s office, Williams-Ridley is the chair of the Committee on Diverse Communities for the League of California Cities. She received a bachelor’s in government from California State University, Sacramento.
At the time of Williams-Ridley’s hire — which followed a nationwide search — Daniel said “Dee’s commitment to public service, community engagement, and cultivating strong team environments made her a clear choice to help manage this dynamic city.”
The Modesto police chief described her at that time as “a strong pillar of our leadership team.”
Said Councilman Kriss Worthington on Thursday, “Dee appears to blend the skills of [former Berkeley city managers] Phil Kamlarz and Weldon Rucker. Her expertise in human resources and I.T. fits city needs. People who have dealt with her in her first months describe her as both results oriented and very open to listening to department heads, employees and the public.”
In his statement Thursday about the nomination, the mayor also expressed his deep appreciation for Daniel’s service.
“Christine Daniel is one of the most capable public servants I have worked with in my long career,” he said. “As our City Manager for the past three and a half years, she has demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness and executive acumen in meeting the extraordinary demands imposed on the top administrator of a proactive city like Berkeley.”
Daniel has been city manager in Berkeley since May 2012, and has worked for the city for 15 years.
Her departure is the latest in a string of high-level shifts in Berkeley. Deputy City Manager William Rogers left in September 2014 to run Goodwill Enterprises in San Francisco. His gross salary in Berkeley, as of April 2014, was $180,026. (This year’s salaries for city employees have not yet been made available.)
Finance Director Robert Hicks also left in 2014. He has not yet been replaced (Daniel has been handling the finance responsibilities). Berkeley Police Capt. Erik Upson left to become police chief in Benicia in April. Jane Micallef, director of the Health, Housing & Community Services Department, left in May.
In response to a request for comment from Williams-Ridley, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said by email that “there’s nothing for staff to comment on” prior to the council vote.
Op-ed: City manager’s departure is big blow to Berkeley (06.29.15)
City Manager Christine Daniel to leave Berkeley for Oakland (06.02.15)
Dee Williams-Ridley named Berkeley’s deputy city manager (01.09.15)
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