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By Henrietta J. Burroughs
Posted on November 30, 2010

The announcement has been months in coming. Now, East Palo Alto finally has a new city manager. By a unanimous vote of 5 to 0, the East Palo Alto City Council appointed ML Gordon, East Palo Alto’s acting city manager as its new city manager.

The city’s Vice Mayor Carlos Romero made the motion to appoint Gordon during a special meeting of the council, which was held on November 30. His motion was seconded and then unanimously approved.

After the vote, Mayor David Woods commented on Gordon’s appointment by referring to the nearly 90 candidates who applied earlier this year for the city’s top position. In what appeared to be an acknowledgment of Gordon’s professionalism and of his unanimous approval, Woods said, “We still end up with the best candidate who was available.”

Slide your mouse over picture
to see image of ML Gordon

                 Photos courtesy of the Media Center
During a special city council meeting on
November 30, the East Palo Alto City
Council appointed
ML Gordon as the
new city manager.

Council members had hoped to have the city manager position filled this past September, when it would have been a year to the month that the city’s previous manager Alvin James announced his retirement. James’ unexpected announcement was made during a city council meeting on September 15, 2009.

James’ contract with the city was set to expire on October 15, but during a closed session just prior to the September council meeting, he and the council failed to agree on mutually acceptable terms that would have renewed his contract as the city manager. So, catching everyone off guard, with the possible exception of the city council, James announced his decision to retire.

After his contract had officially expired, James and the council successfully negotiated several contract extensions that allowed him to continue in his position in order to facilitate a  smooth transition.

Last May, with ML Gordon, the city’s assistant city manager, appointed as the acting city manager, the East Palo Alto City Council narrowed its large pool of city council candidates down to four finalists. From this list, Noelia Chapa, the former city manager of Coachella, CA was chosen to become East Palo Alto’s next city manager, pending the successful completion of contract negotiations. After several closed sessions to work out the final details of her contract, the negotiations ended unsuccessfully.

   In the meantime, ML Gordon, who was functioning as the city’s interim manager, emerged as the council’s final choice. The last details of his contract were worked out publicly at the beginning of the council’s November 30 meeting. After his appointment as East Palo Alto’s new city manager, Gordon continued to function throughout the meeting in the same manner that he has functioned for months: updating the council and making reports and recommendations.  




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