But he also called criticisms aimed his way — some of which challenged his personal integrity — unfair and "personally upsetting" to him and family members.
Allegations that he would be more loyal to Stanford University were just wrong, he told the Weekly as he was finishing up the final two of the 1,000 hours maximum allowed for a temporary employee — equivalent to six months full time.
"My interimship is over," he said.
The City Council May 8 voted to require whoever applies for the $125,000-a-year deputy director position to become professionally certified in planning within two years and to have "substantial planning experience" to qualify for the position — which on the surface might seem to include Coe's practical expertise gleaned from years of Stanford projects.
Coe viewed a council provision that the position should be re-advertised and re-interviewed as a clear message the council felt he was unqualified.
Coe said he and Emslie are discussing a contract that would keep him aboard for about two months to complete the planning phase of the Charleston-Arastradero Road corridor improvements to prevent a disruption in the schedule.
He was the designated point person on the staff for that project.
Coe said he was "baffled" by allegations of his being more loyal to Stanford University than Palo Alto, despite the decade he spent representing Stanford as director of community relations.
"I lived in Palo Alto before I went to Stanford, and feel a personal loyalty both as a resident of Palo Alto and as an employee of Palo Alto," he said.
He said he and his wife, Liz, decided to return to Palo Alto after trying the East Coast for a time because they loved and missed the community.
During their earlier 14 years in Palo Alto, Coe coached Little League for four years and Y basketball for five years.
Coe also felt his 10 years of experience with Stanford provided far more practical "planning experience" than most may have realized. During his tenure, he was part of the university's project teams that dealt with the university's general use permit — its long-term land-use plan — from 1998 until its approval in 2000.
He earlier had been deeply involved on the complex Sand Hill Road expansion from 1993 through 1997, as well as Quarry Road, faculty/staff housing and senior-housing projects. He also had been involved in the 80,000-square-foot expansion of the Stanford Shopping Center, and in development of a major cancer center at Stanford in 1998.
"My skill set was to bring the public into that process," Coe noted — similar to abilities sought in the deputy planning-director position.
Coe said he regrets things didn't work out for him with the city and said he still feels there's a need for stronger communications skills within the planning department.
"I'm old-fashioned enough to think that city government should be helpful," he said.
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