East Palo Alto city manager leaving for Half Moon Bay post

Magda Gonzalez's two-year tenure ends in controversy

Beleaguered East Palo Alto City Manager Magda Gonzalez has found a new job in Half Moon Bay, the city has announced.

Gonzalez, whose contract with East Palo Alto expires on Oct. 21, does not have an official starting date. The Half Moon Bay City Council expects to announce when she will take the helm at its Aug. 19 meeting after her contract is publicly approved, the council said in a Aug. 7 press release.

Gonzalez became East Palo Alto's city manager in 2012. She previously worked under contract for the City of Half Moon Bay that year through her business, Gonzalez Consulting, and received $80 per hour for work on the city's budget, strategic plan and community engagement. The contract put a $30,000 cap on her services, according to Half Moon Bay city documents.

While serving in East Palo Alto, she came under fire for looking into outsourcing police services to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and for an audit of the city's Rent Stabilization Program administration, which some rent-board members and council members said was a "hatchet job" against its longtime administrator, Carol Lamont, who the audit accused of a lopsided approach in favor of tenants. Very soon after, Lamont resigned from her post.

Gonzalez faced similar accusations after a tenants' rights group, Tenants Together, obtained email exchanges between Gonzales and some of the city's biggest landlords that appeared to show a bias in their favor. Gonzalez has strongly denied the accusations.

After community uproar at a closed East Palo Alto City Council session on July 14 that was to discuss renewing Gonzalez's contract, the council announced on July 15 that it would [east seek a new city manager. Council members did not say if they were not rehiring her or if she chose to leave.

Gonzalez was quickly swept up by Half Moon Bay, however, after the city spent six months searching for a new city manager. The recruitment process attracted more than 67 candidates, according to Half Moon Bay's statement.

Half Moon Bay officials note in the statement that Gonzalez balanced East Palo Alto's budget, established a 10-year Capital Improvements Projects plan and developed a set of professional standards for all city departments. She was previously deputy city manager of Redwood City, where she helped secure bond funding for a new library at Redwood Shores, the statement notes.


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Posted by Cactus
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm

[Post removed.]

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 8, 2014 at 9:52 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by vanessa
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 10, 2014 at 12:17 am

I'm glad shes getting out of here. She didn't serve our city well.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Aha
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 10, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I would leave here for HMB if only I could.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

This is a relief for us. Not sure how good of a match she is for Half Moon Bay, but I'm sure she'll enjoy the commute.

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