Alameda City Manager Accused of Wiretapping Council Members
New, jaw-dropping developments have emerged in the ongoing saga surrounding Alameda city manager Jill Keimach.
An independent investigator has uncovered evidence that Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach unlawfully recorded two councilmembers and another city employee without their consent last year, according to two knowledgeable sources. Keimach’s alleged actions are the main reason why the Alameda City Council and Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer voted unanimously on March 9 to place Keimach on administrative leave, the sources said. Spencer and the council are scheduled to discuss whether to fire Keimach on Monday night.
The recordings were reportedly uncovered in March by independent investigator Michael Jenkins, who was hired to investigate Keimach’s allegations that members of the city council had wrongly pressured her to hire their union-backed candidate for fire chief.
According to the East Bay Express, Keimach herself handed over the recordings. The audio was taken at a meeting in August of 2017, in which the council members allegedly pressured her.
According to two sources, during the “two-councilmember meeting” in mid-August last year, Keimach recorded [councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie] without their knowledge. California law prohibits the recording of private conversations, known as wiretapping, without the consent of all the people involved.
Two sources also said that the recording does not reveal wrongdoing by either Oddie or Vella. They also said Keimach, herself, offered the recordings to Jenkins.
It is unclear whether Keimach believed the recordings would bolster her case. However, to underscore the possible illegality of the recordings, Jenkins initially refused to listen to them out of fear of abetting a potential crime, sources said. Jenkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this report.
Two sources said Keimach also recorded a department manager in a separate recording that the city manager handed over to Jenkins. However, the topic of that conversation apparently was not related to the fire chief.
An attorney for Keimach initially denied that she had recorded anyone without their consent, according to the East Bay Express. But Keimach has since acknowledged that she made the tape.
"I did tape that meeting," Keimach told KCBS Radio, "and it is evidence of what I have been asked to do--and that was to hire an unqualified fire chief because the fire union desired it."