Feldman Out By Close OF Business Friday, Silverstein Appointed Mayor-In-Waiting
Written by 991KBU on April 27, 2021
Malibu‘s city manager is leaving Friday …. and a new mayor was selected by the city council last night.
Paul Grisanti is the mayor … and Bruce Silverstein finally got his coveted mayor pro tem appointment.
More on that in a minute.
Malibu city manager Reva Feldman announced last night she will leave her job at City Hall this Friday.
Feldman’s resignation was offered … by the city manager …. last January 16th.
This … after some personal attacks on her integrity from newly elected city councilmember Bruce Silverstein.
Silverstein and one his two running mates …. Steve Uhring … ran on a platform of firiong Feldman and city attorney Christi Hogin.
That triggered three months of closed door meetings and a very split 3-2 city council.
There was another closed door city council huddle with its lawyer last night.
That lasted one hour … it was closed door session number eight.
And as the meeting ended … Feldman’s lawyer in San Francisco sent out a press release listing her accomplishments.
There was no comment from anyone on the city council last night.
In fact …. they have just signed an agreement not to say anything bad about Feldman … or vice versa.
Acting city attorney John Cotti read the highlights of the separation agreement.
NEWSCART 73370 COTTI
“The agreement provides as follows.
“Miss Feldman will no longer be the city manager and will separate from city service as of Maly First 2021.
“Miss Fedlman will receive two 150 thousand dollar payments … the first one on May First … and the second on August First if she has not retained (as) new employment as of that date.
“The city’s insurer, the Joint Power Insurance Authority, will contribute 150 thousand dollars of that total settlement account.
“Miss Feldman agrees to release all claims and has agreed not to sue.
“The parties have agreed to a non-disparagement provision except as required by the Public Records Act.
“The parties agree that they will not discuss the nature … basis or resolution of the alleged issues.
“And lastly … the agreement may not be construed as an admission by the City of any liability whatsoever or as an admission by the City of any wrongdoing.”
The 300 thousand dollars that will be paid to Feldman is a small premium above her salary …. which under her contract is owed to her anyway.
And 150 thousand dollars will come from the city’s insurance carriers … meaning the city taxpayers will not take a major hit.
City council members who have supported Feldman have said they have worried that the city’s insurance premiums will now skyrocket.
The consortium of municipal governments that covers Malibu’s insurance needs does not like instability at a city manager’s office.
Plus … finding and making a deal with a competent new city manager … under these circumstances …. may have just become a big expensive item.
Malibu went thru a revolving door of city managers in the first half of its existence …. before Jim Thorsen was brought on in the late 1990s.
Thorsen recruited Feldman to work for him as a deputy …. and between the two of them … there was a great deal of continuity.
But continuity also provides a foundation for an accumulating stack of grudges or gripes from various people and factions in the city.
And the overwhelming problem for Feldman was the Woolsey Fire.
Fairly or unfairly … Feldman was the human face for the abject failure of government in the Woolsey Fire.
Feldman was not responsible for the lack of fire trucks from L A County to fighjt the fire …. or for the command confusion withing the department.
And Feldman held no power over the L A County sheriff’s decision to keep Malibu residents away from their homes for days and days … unfairly.
As a bureaucrat … Feldman was given high marks by other bureaucrat peers … for her handling of the fire.
As a politician … it was a fiasco.
Missteps in communications doomed her.
And that allowed longstanding grudges to fester and coalesce into two winning city council candidates vowing to fire her.
Combined …. they won only 42 percent of the vote.
But candidates who were not opposed to Feldman split the other 58 percent … the pro-Feldman vote was split … and the die was cast.
Feldman had been city manager for six years.
Before that … she was assistant city manager in Malibu …. and has been an employee of the city for 16 years.
She lives in Calabasas … Malibu has never had a city manager with a house in Malibu.
But her daughter attended Webster Elementary and Malibu High schools … and she has said her Malibu roots run deep … and that she has stayed in Malibu rather than move up the career ladder to bigger jobs in bigger cities.
Her lawyer put out a press release last night … a brag sheet on notable accomplishments.
The City’s General Fund reserves were boosted from $7 million to $30 million.
The city bought a huge amount of vacant land …29 acres in 2018.
“It has been an honor to serve the residents of Malibu and to help the community that I have been part of for almost two decades,” Feldman said in her news release. “I am so proud of how much the City has accomplished, and I am grateful for the support of the City staff and residents.”
Mayor Mikke Pierson said only this.
NEWSCART 73371 PIERSON REVA THAT AS SOON AS WE CAN.
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The change in the city manager’s office came on the same night that there is a change in the office of the mayor.
For most, of its 30 years … Malibu’s mayor was a largely ceremionical title … rotated equally among city council members.
But that was before the status quo was jarred with highly divisive politivs … in for the form of two city council members with a very aggressive plan to fire the city attotney andf city manager.
So … who is going to be the new mayor?
Last night … old battle lines were drawn again.
Karen Farrer nominated Paul Grisanti.
Steve Uhring nominated Bruce Silverstein.
But … Silverstein said he could count … three city council votes were steadfast against him.
NEWSCART 73375 SILVERSTEIN NOMINATE .
“Actually um as much as I appreciate the gesture by Steve I can read the writing on the wall.
“So I am going to respectfully going to decline the nomination.
“I appreciate it Steve.
“But I do want to nominate Steve.”
And with that … Paul Grisanti is the new mayor of Malibu.
And … who gets to be the backup mayor … the mayor pro tem??
Uhring once again nominated Silverstein.
Uhring said the city council has matured … since last December … when they were at each others throats as he and Silverstein were sworn in.
NEWSCART 7377 UHRING PROGRESS
“We have demonstrated the ability to get things done … and we will get better at it.
“And I would like to go back to the traditional piece … that says Bruce was trhe leading vote getting … I think he really deserves it.”
But Karen Farrer … in a surprise ... voted for Uhring to be the mayor pro temporary.
That caused some audible gasps …
That put Mikke Pierson on the hot seat for the swing vote.
Would he put a man who has called him some names on the Internet in line as mayor pro tem … to become the city’s next mayor??
Some visible hand wringing … by Mikke Pierson …
He said he would vote for Silverstein if Silverstein stopped making personal attacks in other venues ….
Silverstein said sure.
And with Farrer and Grisanti voting against Silverstein … but Mikke Pierson voting for him … Bruce Silverstein was named mayor pro tem. At least one resident … speaking to a different item … could not quite swallow the Kumbaya moment.
Malibu resident Mark Baute … speaking at last night’s city council il meeting.
NEWSCART 73419 BAUTE BACKED BY ANY REAL SUBSTANCE
“When we hear someone like Steve say ‘we’re getting better and we are getting stuff done’ it sounds mostly like self-congratulations not backed with any substance.”
Some residents last night congratulated Bruce Silverstein and Steve Uhring … who ran on a platform of ousting Feldman from her job.