Martinez Councilmember questions appointment of Anna Gywn Simpson as Interim City Manager

lara-delaney-questions-appointment-of-Anna-Gywn-SimpsonMartinez City Councilwoman Lara Delaney is scratching her head after Council voted 3-2 to appoint Ann Gwyn Simpson as Interim City Manager over the objections of DeLaney and fellow Councilmember Mark Ross. Anna Gywn Simpson, who has worked for Martinez for just six months was selected outside of any normal City hiring practices; without consideration of current qualified City of Martinez employees or even looking for qualified applicants outside the City.

Anna Gywn Simpson, formerly of the Oakland Housing Authority and touted by Mayor Rob Schroder, was appointed in 3Q 2013 to a bespoke position as trial Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Community Development (whoa!). No one is talking about how that position was created and how Anna Gwyn Simpson got the custom job in the first place.

Delaney says that she and Councilmember Ross were not given the opportunity to review the Ann Gwyn Simpson resume or to interview her. “We were denied the opportunity to do our job and due diligence to make sure the best candidate would be selected,” noted DeLaney.

Delaney hopes citizens will contact Martinez City Council for answers concerning the mysterious appointments of Ann Gywn Simpson and attend tonight’s (Jan 22) meeting to ask tough questions.

Dear Fellow Martizians,

Something is happening at City Hall that warrants the attention of the entire Martinez community.

Last Thursday, the City Council voted 3-2 to offer a contract of Interim City Manager to Ms. Anna Gywn Simpson, over the objections of Councilmember Mark Ross and myself. This appointment was made without following any of the normal City hiring practices, and completely bypassed consideration of other long-term, exemplary city employees who have the much-need qualifications and experience for a position of such importance.

Anna Gywn Simpson has been an employee with the city for the past 6 months, as Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Community Development — a trial position that was just created last year!

Councilmember Ross and I were not permitted to review the resume of Ms. Simpson or to interview her prior to the 3-2 vote that was taken last Thursday. This is unprecedented in my experience. Is this an appropriate process for selecting someone to be the top management position of the City—even on an interim basis?

On top of this, the Council has not committed to undertake a search for a qualified City Manager. Would our City actually allow a mid-level employee new to the City to be elevated to interim City Manager and then to City Manager without even looking at top-notch highly qualified candidates available for this critical position to manage our City?

I urge you to attend the Martinez City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. when the contract is scheduled to be voted on, or if you cannot attend, to make your opinions known to the Council through email or phone calls.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Councilwoman Lara DeLaney

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Comments

  1. Wendy Lack says

    Too bad the Martinez Council meeting conflicts with tonight’s ConFire “town hall” meeting that will be held concurrently at the other end of town. It would be great to get an update tomorrow, in this space, from those who do attend the Council meeting.

    Transparency demands that Councilmembers disclose the rationale and thinking behind their decisions. Whenever a three-member majority refuses to respond to reasonable information requests from fellow Councilmembers and/or the public, it’s a red flag warning.

    The actions of Councilmembers Schroder, Farias and Menesini described in today’s Contra Costa Times news report (http://bit.ly/1mu7kwa) do not serve to build positive working relationships among the Council as a whole. (Perhaps some Martinez Councilmembers are taking lessons in “How to Make Enemies and Alienate People” from the Pleasant Hill City Council?)

    Hopefully decisions will be made at tonight’s Council meeting that will satisfy Ms. DeLaney, Mr. Ross and the public. Otherwise Ms. Simpson and City staff may be left in an awkward position — and Simpson may be unable to perform effectively in the acting CM role.

    Also — it’s curious that Assistant City Manager Alan Shear turned down the job as the interim. What’s he know that we don’t?