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Malone named Vallejo’s interim city manager, becoming its third in 2021

  •   3 min reads
Malone named Vallejo’s interim city manager, becoming its third in 2021
Mike Malone will be Vallejo's interim city manager beginning in October.

VALLEJO - The Vallejo City Council officially named Mike Malone as interim city manager Tuesday night, making him the third person to hold the position this year.

Malone, who currently serves as the city’s water director, will earn an annual base salary of $234,250 as interim city manager, according to his employment agreement. He will have the ability to return to the water director position upon termination of the agreement.

Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell vouched for Malone during Tuesday’s meeting, stating that “he can do the job excellently.”

McConnell dismissed a civil complaint alleging Malone retaliated against a woman when he was operations and maintenance manager with the city of Sacramento. The woman alleged that she was subjected to sexual harassment by her supervisor who was friends with Malone. Calling it a “nuisance suit,” McConnell said Malone’s background was thoroughly investigated.

Councilmembers Mina Loera-Diaz, District 3, and Cristina Arriola, District 6, voted against Malone’s appointment. Loera-Diaz explained her decision prior to the vote, stating that she wanted to see someone from outside the current city of Vallejo structure to fill the position as a way to bring a different perspective.

Two public speakers, Melissa Swift, and former Vallejo school board Trustee Ruscal Cayangyang, expressed their displeasure with Malone filling the position.

Swift said it was a “stretch” to have a water director move over to the city manager position. She said the city manager is tasked with handling multiple high-profile items, like reforming the Vallejo Police Department, and how the city should spend American Rescue Plan money.

Meanwhile, Jimmie Jackson, NAACP Vallejo Chapter President, said Malone has done an excellent job with the city so far and “will have the support of this community.”

Malone is Vallejo’s third city manager this year, replacing current interim City Manager Anne Cardwell, who was elevated to the position in late July. Cardwell 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.

The council eventually approved a resignation and separation agreement with Nyhoff in early July. Later that month, the council named Cardwell as interim city manager.

Cardwell announced in August that she would be leaving Vallejo on Oct. 7 — after a little more than two months as the city’s CEO. She has declined to say where she will be working next.

On her way out the door, in an Aug. 25 article by the Vallejo Times-Herald, Cardwell blamed certain members of the community for causing low morale within city government

“Additionally, there is a very vocal segment of the community that is incredibly critical of city staff at council meetings on a regular basis, including making false and negative statements about various city employees,” Cardwell was quoted in the Vallejo Times-Herald article. “In addition to often providing inaccurate information, these comments are demoralizing for staff and impact the city’s ability to effectively attract and retain staff.”

Malone will have his hands full as the city faces several issues, including members of the city’s police force allegedly bending the ends of their star-shaped badges after killing someone. Vallejo is also defending itself in at least three wrongful termination lawsuits filed by former city employees.

Naming a permanent city manager may take longer. McConnell said the process of finding a permanent city manager could take up to 16 months, according to a Sept. 9 statement on the city’s website.

McConnell said a “silver tsunami” of officials retiring from the public sector is causing a major delay, as multiple municipalities are looking to fill city manager positions, along with other challenges.

Malone takes over as interim city manager on Oct. 8. An outgoing message from Malone’s city email account said he will be out of the office for the entire week.

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