Atherton's Interim Police Chief Ed Flint has added "acting interim city manger" to his job title after John Danielson, the interim city manager, became seriously ill and unable to return to Atherton while on a trip out of California this week.
The City Council appointed Mr. Flint to the position as an "urgency item" at its meeting Wednesday night, Nov. 16, in Jennings Pavilion in Holbrook-Palmer Park.
Mr. Flint, who will serve until Mr. Danielson can return to work or the council replaces him, said he will be doing both jobs temporarily at no additional pay. While the situation "caught me by surprise, too," he said, he is confident he will be able to handle both jobs. Like other Atherton department heads "I attend just about all the city managers meetings," he said.
"Mr. Danielson has organized and assembled a real strong staff here."
"I'm just interested in getting Mr. Danielson back here … and that he makes a speedy recovery," Chief Flint said.
Chief Flint began serving as interim police chief in July. He has 35 years of multi-agency law enforcement experience including serving as police chief in Santa Rosa and Elk Grove. He also worked during his career with the California Highway Patrol in Redwood City and the Sacramento County sheriff's department, and was assistant police chief in Citrus Heights.
He is a retired Army colonel, and served in the Army Reserves and California National Guard.
In an interview on Nov. 10, Mr. Danielson praised the job that is being done for Atherton by Chief Flint. "He's doing a great job," he said adding that Chief Flint has made a number of positive changes in the police department. "He's enhancing the whole educational process over there," instituting new policies and procedures.
"It's just a different department," Mr. Danielson said. "Ed is the driving force."
In the interview, Mr. Danielson said that Chief Flint has also proved a valuable asset to the town with his input at staff meetings on topics not related to the police department.
Mr. Danielson was hired by the town as interim manager last December. Formerly, he was city manager of Elk Grove and Wildomar, both in California. He operates the Danielson Associates consulting firm in Sacramento. When he was hired, he said he was not a candidate for the permanent manager's position.
The council voted unanimously to appoint Chief Flint to the acting position. One Atherton resident sent a letter protesting the appointment. Kimberly Sweidy, who has been involved in a dispute with the town over problems with the construction of her home, said she did not support the appointment.
"There are so many problems with this that I don't even now where to start," she wrote. She said that the chief and city manager jobs are "self-evidently, distinct" and questioned Chief Flint's qualifications to do the job. "We do not live in a Police State," she wrote.
Deputy City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta said she is not allowed, by law, to comment on an employee's medical issues so could give no information on Mr. Danielson's condition.
Chief Flint said that the town has not yet started the process of looking for a permanent city manager.