It has been almost five months since John Danielson resigned his post as Atherton’s interim city manager. Where is the replacement? It is not as if Theresa Della Santa is not doing a great job as interim but why does it take so long to find a replacement? The Council has spent a lot of money with search firms to date, and I find it impossible to believe they have not been able to find a suitable replacement for this important town officer.
After watching the video of the June 20th Council meeting there are some clues. They spent considerable time discussing the legal procedure (change in ordinance) for removing a city manager. Both Widmer and Dobbie wanted the City Attorney to draft language that contained the minimum amount of procedures for cause and minimizing the protection for the town for removal. In addition, McKeithen wanted to be able to directly communicate with town employees on performance issues. There were other issues brought forward but, in general, they reflect the philosophy of Widmer, McKeithen and Dobbie that they want tight control to be able to micromanage finances, human resources as well as operational matters. The concept of a strong city manager-weak council form of government is totally lost on them.
So perhaps it is really easy to understand why they have not gotten a new city manager. What sort of applicant doing due diligence on the town’s past experience with city managers, viewing council meetings and observing behavior of the current council, particularly Widmer, McKeithen and Dobbie would want to work for these three?