Anaheim: Tait Council Majority Set To Fire City Manager

[Cross-posted from Anaheim Blog]

Anaheim Insider here.

It took King Henry VIII 38 years to go through six wives.

Mayor Tom Tait is working on five City Managers during just six-and-a-half years in office – and there’s still time to make to match Henry’s record.

Topping the closed session agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting is “Public Employee Resignation/Release/Dismissal” and the second item is the appointment of an Interim City Manager. SO it stands to reason Tait and his council majority are going to fire City Manager Paul Emery.

Emery served as Interim City Manager from February 2014 until July 2015, when he was appointed city manager. As the city’s top administrator for the last three-and-a-half years, who has led City Hall longer than any city manager during the Tait era, which has been marked by instability and turn-over in the top ranks of city government.

Emery ably led and managed city government through tumultuous years of trench warfare between the mayor and a majority of his council colleagues, plus the transition to an enlarged city council elected from voting districts. The Anaheim Police Department has increased the number of police officers. The city accomplished major economic development initiatives such as the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center, a TOT incentive program has attracted three 4 Diamond hotel projects to the Anaheim Resort, a $2 billion expansion of the Disneyland Resort and the protection of Disneyland guests from having a gate tax imposed upon them. A major investment in the economic revitalization of West Anaheim is underway.

Normally, that would be cause for re-appointment. But in the upside-down world of the Tait majority, it merits being fired and a return to instability. No good deed unpunished.

Speculation is rampant that Tait and his council wingman, Jose F. Moreno, want to bring Anaheim Union High School Superintendent Mike Matsuda in as either the Interim City Manager or appoint him to the permanent job after going through the motions of an “exhaustive” nation-wide search.

Matsuda is a left-wing political hack so obviously unqualified for the City Manager position that such speculation would ordinarily be dismissed out of hand. But this the Tait-Moreno council majority we’re talking about here, and Matsuda is joined to Moreno’s political left hip. Matsuda is the sort of highly-political progressive activist that Moreno would love to have in the City Manager’s office to steer city government leftward in the dawning post-Tait era.

What qualifications could Matsuda cite? He’d never run a school site, let alone an entire school district prior to being appointed superintendent of the AUHSD in 2014. His short tenure has been marked a political campaign against charter school waged on the public’s dime, lack of transparency and the steady expansion of the budget and staffing of the superintendent’s office. And lots of Facebook photos with Moreno, Tait, Al Jabbar and assorted progressive political activists.

L to R: Jose F. Moreno; blogger and litigant against Anaheim Greg Diamond; Mike Matsuda.

He did join Tait and Moreno to pour wood chips on the Palm Lane Park playground in the wake of the after-school brawl between a mob of his students and a local resident.  Guess that qualifies him to run a billion-dollar local government enterprise.

Anaheim city government used to be marked by stability, expertise, institutional knowledge, succession planning and forward-thinking. Since 2011, it’s been marked by turn-over, fractiousness, churn and instability that undermines leadership and planning. There was an reprieve during Emery’s tenure, however uneasy at times. Now it’s looks like the politicizing the city manager’s office by the crew who accuse everyone else of playing politics.

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