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Cheryl Thompson, Assistant City Administrator and Deborah Edgerly's Number Two, Fired - Dellums' Summer Massacre

I'm sure where this is headed -- court -- but for now, the mortar shells keep firing. Assistant City Administrator Cheryl Thompson -- Deborah Edgerly's Number Two -- was fired today in what seems to be Mayor Ron Dellums' Summer Massacre. The other problem is that Cheryl Thompson was supposedly promissed a severance package by Edgerly.

Oakland City Attorney John Russo and Dellums Chief of Staff David Chai assert that Cheryl Thompson was not to receive a five-month's pay severance package that Cheryl Thompson says was promised to her by Edgerly.

Russo told the Oakland Tribune that "Our position is, 'Where's this employment agreement in 2004 that you're mentioning?'" Russo said. "Does it exist? Without a written agreement, it's not even possible for us to even consider it."

But here's the potential problem: if Edgerly and Thompson assert that there was a verbal agreement, then Russo or anyone else can't say it's not valid. Generally, the validity of a verbal agreement is questioned when one party in the "contract" says the "deal" did not exist, whereas the other person says it did.

That's not the problem here.

The problem here is precedent. I recall a conversation I had with a long time aide to now-former Oakland Councilmember Henry Chang after he left his post with the popular At-Large Councilmember. This person told me that each aide is "taken care of" and that he "had nothing to worry about."

What he was referring to was a kind of fashioned severance package. An agreement that was verbal -- not on paper. And done. In fact, it's done so often in the City of Oakland, that one can argue it's the real official city policy. The bottom line is that it's City Council will that hold's sway, and that's why we have these problems of biased application of City policy.

I think the City of Oakland's latest round of drama is exposing a biased process where "City policy" is selectively applied, and that is one habit that must be destroyed if Oakland's government is to be really transparent and fair to all.

Right now, it's not.
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