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Emily Harrison to become Santa Clara County deputy executive

Original post made by Steve Broadbent on Apr 10, 2008

San Jose Mercury News is reporting that "Emily Harrison, Palo Alto's lauded and embattled assistant city manager, will leave her post to become one of three Santa Clara County deputy executives, officials announced this afternoon."

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Who's going to run our City?

Comments (17)

Posted by Long Time Resident, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:56 pm

I think that Emily has done an excellent job, considering the difficult circumstances which she has had to work under.

I always felt that she was the person who was really in charge of the day to day operations in our city.

I wish her good luck in her new position, she will be missed.

Who will be taking over for Emily?

Posted by Henry, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2008 at 10:24 pm

I agree with Long Time Resident. Competent, straight talking. When she answers a question it is in plain English, not in bureaucratic roundabout mumbo jumbo.
She has done her job AND her boss's job AND she took charge of the Utilities Dept. when it became necessary.
I wish her all the best.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:36 am

Good luck and God speed, Ms. Harris. You did good.

Posted by trudy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:24 am

Well, now the city government falls further apart, this is a real loss. I hope she gets the appreciation she deserves there.

Posted by Supporter, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2008 at 6:48 am

This is an unfortunate loss for Palo Alto. Emily is the one who has worked many long hours and held this City together. When her Boss was so unfortunately indisposed she stepped right up and managed this City seamlessly.

To all those bloggers who have been calling for her to leave, you've got your way, but it will be Palo Alto's loss. As residents of Santa Clara County, however, we will continue to be on the receiving end of her smart working skills.

Congratulations Emily, God speed, I wish you all you would wish for yourself in your new position.

Posted by How quickly we forget, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2008 at 8:02 am

How quickly everyone forgets about Emily's malfeasance while on the job her, her suspensions for abuse of workers under her and the attempted cover up by the city hall people.
She should have been fired a long time ago--I say goodbye and good riddance.

Posted by george browning, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 11, 2008 at 8:34 am

It's wonderful that many people realize what a great job Emily has done for our City. She does not suffer fools gladly which caused her trouble in our highly politicized community.

In a short period the City will have to replace the city auditor, city manager, assistant city manager, administrative services director, and community services director. It will be a long learning curve for the replacements. Institutional memory is extremely important when guiding a $130M organization.

Good luck and my best wishes go with Emily in her new job.

Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Is the ship sinking... And all are getting off? Brain drain???

Posted by Peg, a resident of The Greenhouse
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Godspeed Emily. May you have a better temper than John McCain and better ethics than Cynthia D'Agosta.

Posted by Paly Alumni, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I really admired Emily. She worked tirelessly in running this city.
I think it would be impossible to "Be nice" all the time, especially through some of the ridiculous things that she has had to put up with here over the years.
It is amazing that she has lasted this long.
I think most of the citizens really loved Emily, although employees may have seen her differently. It must be hard to be boss, keep within a budget, and have the responsibility of overseeing the numerous breakaway departments running and self policing themselves.
This is what has gotten us into so much trouble.
Will our city attorney be the next to leave?

Posted by Not Happy, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2008 at 8:58 pm

No, the City Attorney is "Top Dog" now, which is just what he wanted.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2008 at 12:02 am

Emily Harrison was a wonderful person who got a bad rap from the city manager and the press. The residents knew whom to turn to, knew who got things done, and knew who was running the ship. God bless and God speed, Emily.

Posted by Utility Bill Payer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2008 at 10:47 am

"No, the City Attorney is "Top Dog" now, which is just what he wanted". Yes, and he was the guy who advised the CC to settle with Enron's creditors and give them what they asked for - $21M. It was easier for him to settle than to fight, it was less work.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Gee, this is not the same City Attorney who failed to respond to my questions about potential workman's compensation claims by the street people working downtown, is it? The same attorney who allowed City funds to be expended for unlicensed "engineering" work?

Posted by pete, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 19, 2008 at 10:33 pm

Yes, Walter. We are stuck with a City Attorney who has more ambition than loyalty to the City.

When Benest leaves, he will be "Top Dog" only because he will have more seniority than other senior administrators, not because he is the ablest.

Posted by Paly Alumni, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 20, 2008 at 5:14 am

I agree that the city attorney needs some help.
He has only been here for 4 years, which is hardly "senior".
Do all cities have downloadable online claim forms like we do, or are we just a target for lawsuits?
I think our attorney and his staff should welcome advice from residents who have the time to be "up" on legal matters.
It can't hurt to have other opinions to make sure that we dot our "i's" and cross our "t's". It could help us reduce the number of lawsuits we have.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 27, 2008 at 2:58 am

Paly Alumni

"Do all cities have downloadable online claim forms like we do, or are we just a target for lawsuits?"

I think that we ARE are a target for lawsuits, or else our city makes so many mistakes that we have been setting ourselves up them.

It seems like there has been a lawsuit every week for the past 8 years, or maybe it just seems like this.

We need better management, stronger ordinances, stronger zoning and land use codes which can not be altered to the whims of developer.

And sronger code enforcement with stiff penalities for violators.

We need a tough City Manager and Assistant City Manager, and a complete makeover in most of the departments.

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