, May 20, 2022

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City council expected to name Mike Malone permanent Vallejo city manager

  •   3 min reads
City council expected to name Mike Malone permanent Vallejo city manager
Mike Malone has been Vallejo's interim city manager since last year. Photo: City of Vallejo.

VALLEJO – The search for the next permanent Vallejo city manager appears to be over as the Vallejo City Council is scheduled to name Mike Malone to the permanent post on Tuesday.

Malone was tapped to serve as interim city manager in early October 2021 following the departures of Anne Cardwell and Greg Nyhoff. Malone was originally hired as the city of Vallejo’s water director in 2017.

The council will be asked to approve a two-year employment agreement with Malone giving him a $278,000 annual salary, plus a housing allowance of $450 per month and $125,000 in health benefits for a total benefits package of $412,000 annually. If approved, the agreement will retroactively begin on April 18 and run through April 18, 2024, according to the agreement. Malone currently earns $234,000 in annual base salary as interim city manager.

“Based upon the performance of Michael Malone as both the Water Director and as the Interim City Manager and given the current work underway that will benefit from Mr. Malone's continued consistent leadership, the City Council has determined that a two year contract is appropriate at this time,” city staff wrote in a report to the council.

Malone became the city’s third city manager in 2021 when he replaced Anne Cardwell, who was hired in late 2018 as the city’s assistant city manager. She was promoted to acting city manager in early June when then-City Manager Greg Nyhoff disappeared suddenly from city hall, citing an undisclosed medical issue.

Nyhoff never returned as the council eventually approved a resignation and separation agreement with him in early July. Later that month, the council named Cardwell as interim city manager.

She didn’t last long, instead choosing to become finance director with the city of Napa.

Malone will continue to have his hands full as the city is marred with several critical issues, including members of the city’s police force bending the ends of their star-shaped badges after shooting someone. Kent Tribble, a former Vallejo police lieutenant, testified in court last month that he brought the “badge bending” practice with him to Vallejo police in 2003. He started the practice while he was an officer with the Concord Police Department.

The city has refused to release a report completed by former Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano, who was hired to investigate the practice.

The city is also defending itself in at least three wrongful termination lawsuits filed by former city employees. Cardwell, Nyhoff, former Human Resources Director Heather Ruiz, and then-interim City Attorney Randy Risner were all named in an early 2021 lawsuit filed by former employees Will Morat, Slater Matzke, and Joanna Altman.

A Solano County judge last October dismissed a portion of the lawsuit which alleged that Risner, Cardwell, and Nyhoff engaged in harassment, removing those three as defendants.

The judge declined to dismiss the rest of the lawsuit against the city of Vallejo, including allegations that Ruiz made defamatory comments.  

Vallejo continues to grapple with housing issues, including the lack of a navigation center meant to assist the city’s homeless. City officials revealed during a November 2021 Housing and Community Development Commission meeting that the city doesn’t have a firm schedule on when the proposed 125-bed navigation center will open to serve the city’s unsheltered residents.

Officials said at the time that there is a $2.3 million funding gap which needs to be filled prior to construction. It will take 12-14 months to build the center after the funding is secured. The project was dealt another blow when city hall revealed last December that human habitation isn’t allowed on the proposed site for the new navigation center.  There is a restriction on the property due to ground contamination from prior industrial uses.

Vallejo officials have yet to reveal a new location for the shelter, but the city estimates that it will cost $2.2 to $2.8 million annually to operate.

In addition, the Vallejo Sun reported last month that at least five people died in the city’s Project RoomKey program, which was established to house vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has declined to publicly disclose how many program participants died.

The Vallejo City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday inside the Vallejo City Hall Council Chambers,  555 Santa Clara St.

Members of the public will be able to participate in-person or remotely via Zoom.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the latest regarding a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by three former city of Vallejo employees.

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