The below Video shows Bob Canter, CEO for the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce thanking city manager Pat O’Keeffe for attending the Chamber Board Meetings over the past years. .
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This is a practice which has long been criticized by the community. The City Manager should not attend CLOSED door meetings on a MONTHLY basis with any organized group or individual. We believe it violates the City Manager Code of Ethics. The City pays the Chamber of Commerce $24,000 each year, and provides free office space. Payment of that money keeps the Chamber of Commerce alive. Is it just an accident, the Chamber of Commerce supports everything the Staff wants to do. Issues the Chamber should be concerned about are just ignored. A cozy relationship. The Chamber just happens to support candidates for City Council who agree with the Staff.
We also criticize on-going WEEKLY meetings between City Manager Pat O’Keeffe and John Gooding, the person who provides money for city council candidates in every election. He is known to make “back room deals.” The subject of their weekly conversations is never disclosed. The code of ethics says this is an action which undermines public confidence, and rightfully so.
It was less than two years ago, when John Gooding made a backroom deal to accomplish the North Hollis underground utility district to force 18 unsuspecting property owners to pay a surprise $8.3 million assessment. That action was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately the EPOA was able to stop that assessment. What is the role of the City Council Members if the City Manager has secret meetings with business people in the community. Aren’t business people who have concerns supposed to talk to their elected officials? The City Council should not allow their role to be undermined with a new city manager. An open calendar and full disclosure of private meetings to the City Council seems appropriate. How can you have someone working for you that does not tell you what they are doing?