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City manager named in closed meeting

By Judith Scherr and John Geluardi Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday February 28, 2001



Twice acting city manager, Weldon Rucker has been appointed to the permanent post of city manager. 

The deal was made during closed session Tuesday, with few members of the public aware the appointment was eminent, although a “public employee appointment” of a city manager was noticed on the executive session agenda. Councilmembers had proposed a nationwide search for a manager several months previous. 

The vote in support of Rucker was 8-0, with Councilmember Polly Armstrong absent. 

“I think it was scandalous that Weldon Rucker wasn’t hired six years ago,” Councilmember Kriss Worthington said in a phone interview. “We imported (former city manager) Jim Keene. He didn’t understand Berkeley.” 

Worthington said the process for the appointment was wrong, however. “It should have been done at public session,” he said. 

When the appointment was announced in open session, and Worthington said Rucker should have gotten the appointment the first time he was acting city manager, Mayor Shirley Dean rushed to say that Rucker had been offered the job and declined it. (The Daily Planet was unable to confirm this independently with Rucker.) Rucker served as acting city manager for several years before Keene’s appointment. 

“We’ve all welcomed him and given him a vote of confidence,” Dean said. 

As for Rucker, he didn’t make a long speech: “Maybe now that I’m permanent I can get a working microphone,” he quipped. 

Rucker, who will receive the same compensation as he had while he was acting city manager, has worked for the city for over 30 years, serving in various positions including director of public works and deputy city manager. 

As city manager, Rucker will have several key appointments to make. The city lacks a director for its Planning Department. The police chief has said he is leaving his post soon. The head of the transportation division has recently given up his post after occupying it for only a short time.