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Oakland Hiring Audit A Terrible Idea: Charter Review Committee Is Needed

The call for a City of Oakland "hiring audit", given by both Council President Ignacio De La Fuente and Mayor Ron Dellums in the wake of the firing of Chief Administrative Officer Deborah Edgerly on Tuesday (and the focus of a July 15th City Council meeting), is a terrible, emotional, knee-jerk idea adopted by two elected officials who need to take three steps back and rethink their entire approach to this matter. They've already made a ton of errors.

Dellums mistake is in appearing as if he has all of the managerial stability of a switch-hitter, changing from one way of dealing with Deborah Edgerly, then opting for a nuclear approach. Ignacio does, what he does all too well, pounce in to take advantage of a perceived weakness in his opponent. But his mistake is in his execution of this action.

Remember that Dellums beat De La Fuente in the last Oakland Mayor's race, and now public perception of Dellums has reached rock-bottom, so low that Ignacio's playing the role of vulture and working to eat away at the carcass of what's left of the Mayor's image. But he's too busy eating away, and not thinking about the gas that will develop from his enormous appetite.

Consider: Ignacio held his own press conference, just when Mayor Dellums did. But here's the problem. While Ignacio plays the role of flying vulture well, he always seems to miss the right mark of his target. In this case, Ignacio missed his chance to really, really , really remake the City of Oakland, by failing to call for a Charter Review Commission to reform the Oakland City Charter.

Ignacio swoops in and starts eating; but he fails to save some of the meal for later.

I'll explain more about the Oakland City Charter and why it was reformed in the past in another post, but by calling for a new Charter, De La Fuente could call for Mayor Dellums to have to come to the Oakland City Council meetings, and also give a report to council quarterly. And in this current climate, De La Fuente and the Council could get public backing for such changes, and make them stick.

Instead, De La Funte managed to call for the idea that Chip Johnson and others inside City Hall have asked for, an audit of all -- ALL -- city hiring practices. If that includes the City Council, the arrow of blame could point right back at Ignacio, and that's another reason why the very idea he's pushing is not only a terrible one, it's just plain dumb.

It could make him look real bad right at the time he's able to move into position to capture the prize that has long escaped his grasp: Mayor of Oakland.
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