Some bad news was hidden in Mayor Ron Dellums’ announcement about new city appointees: the quick firing of Claudia Albano, Oakland’s neighborhood services manager, who is much-loved among all neighborhood organizers.
Additionally Felicia Verdin, who coordinates the neighborhood watch program and community policing training, has been re-assigned to another department. These changes are supposed to be effective by close of business, today.
What the heck is this about?
When a politician or business executive first rides into town, you expect some housecleaning. In this case, a new city administrator who isn’t new to the city, Dan Lindheim, may have some reasons to sack Albano and Verdin – or simply wants to create his own team. We don’t know.
Yet this current team has made a difference for community volunteers. They organize regular trainings, provide guidance and are touted as “what works” in Oakland city government. There’s been a huge outpouring of grief from Montclarions, who have found them to be quite helpful on all safety matters (read here.)
Let’s see what happens today.
In this case, it makes sense for Mayor Dellums and City Administrator Lindheim to swallow their pride and reverse course. Our neighborhood crime watch groups are based on volunteers and voters who value the support they have received over the past few years. If it ain’t broke, then why break it?
Frankly I feel sorry for the new appointee, who is caught in the crossfire. The Tribune reported that “Dorlista Reed, who helped develop the city of Berkeley’s Neighborhood Services initiative among other programs, [has been named] as public safety coordinator.” She may be a qualified and wonderful person, but has a very hard act to follow.