San Leandro names new city manager

SAN LEANDRO — Jeff Kay, the acting city manager, has been chosen as city manager.

The City Council’s unanimous decision to shift Kay into  the top slot came Thursday and follows the departure of Chris Zapata, whose official last day on the job was Tuesday.

“The City Council and I are thrilled to appoint Jeff to serve as our next city manager,” Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said in a release. “Throughout his time in San Leandro, Jeff has earned the trust of the community, our staff and the City Council. Jeff approaches public service with integrity, a strong work-ethic and a community-oriented approach. His institutional knowledge, experience with economic development and financial acumen make him the ideal candidate to help our community successfully navigate the opportunities and challenges we will face in the coming years.”

Zapata had served as city manager since 2012. His departure came despite an independent investigator finding that allegations against him of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct — which led city officials to place him on leave — were not credible.

City officials reached a $350,000 severance payment with Zapata. Deputy City Manager Eric Engelbart said Zapata was not asked to quit.

Zapata himself has declined to comment on the reasons for his stepping down.

Kay has worked for San Leandro since 2009. He previously worked as the city’s business development manager.

His background also includes working as a project manager with Willdan Financial Services, which provides technical and consulting services in energy, infrastructure transportation municipal engineering and other areas.

“I am honored to have this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to work with the City Council, our talented and dedicated staff, and the community,” Kay said. “I am exceedingly optimistic about what the future holds for San Leandro, and I’m excited to be a part of our shared success.”

Details about Kay’s contract, including his proposed annual salary, were not immediately available. Zapata’s annual pay when he was hired five years ago was $273,000. His contract was set to expire in January 2020.

The City Council will vote upon Kay’s contract Sept. 4, or at its first regular meeting following its August recess.

Kay holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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