Russo replaces public works chief

Russo replaces public works chief

Michele Ellson

The city department charged with maintaining Alameda’s streets, sidewalks and trees is getting new leadership. City Manager John Russo has appointed Robert G. Haun as the city’s acting public works director.

Haun is replacing Matt Naclerio, whose resigned after 14 years on the job; Naclerio’s resignation takes effect on October 16.

“Matt was a good public works director,” Russo said. “(But) we needed a change at the top to evolve into the organization we evolved into being.”

One change Russo said the department needs to make is the way it handles public input. The city drew intense criticism for the department’s decision to chop down trees that lined Park Street, and policymakers took issue with a list of projects submitted for inclusion in a countywide transportation bond measure with what they characterized as inadequate public review.

Haun worked for the city for nearly 20 years and is coming to public works from the Alameda Housing Authority, which was spun off on its own in 2012. During his tenure here, he has served as project manager for the reconstruction of the city’s main library and maintenance supervisor for the housing authority.

Haun’s salary in his new role is $189,592 a year.

Comments

Submitted by frank on Thu, Aug 29, 2013

“(But) we needed a change at the top to evolve into the organization we evolved into being.”

????????????

Submitted by David (not verified) on Thu, Aug 29, 2013

I agree with the ???????? comment above.  Mr. Russo as quoted makes no sense whatsoever!  
This is just another example of the lack of transparency that permeates city hall - it still is a private "old boy" network.
Matt Naclerio has done a good job as public works director and his "resignation" is a great loss for Alameda.
 

Submitted by Jon Spangler on Fri, Aug 30, 2013

I. too, agree with the first commenter: our city manager is being less than coherent here. What is interesting to note is that Matt Naclerio went to the City Manager's office with his concerns about the lack of recent public hearings--BEFORE proceeding with the tree removal on Park Street. (Naclerio was not at all certain that our community was ready to see all those trees taken out without a second round of full public hearings. He wanted to make sure that the community was fully aware of the changes that had been previously approved.)

The City Manager's office advised Naclerio to NOT hold additional public hearings, and to proceed with the Park Street tree removal and replacement project. And the rest--as we all know--was history when the chainsaws came out.

Given that Naclerio sought guidance from the City manager's Office, it is unseemly and disingenuous for our city manager to have subsequently let Naclerio take almost all of the blame for the lack of public process--when Naclerio went to his office with a suggestion to hold additional hearings. It is similarly inappropriate for John Russo to evade taking appropriate responsibility for having advised Naclerio to NOT hold additional hearings prior to removing the Park Street trees--for which Naclerio has now been officially crucified.

Ironically, since that tree fiasco, Naclerio has redoubled his efforts to promote and expand public involvement on projects like the Shore Line Drive bike and traffic improvements. Indeed, he was becoming (or had become) the kind of Public Works Director that City Manager Russo now says "we evolved into being" (sic).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, Aug 30, 2013

In my 15 years in dealing with Matt Naclerio (I remember when Jim Flint introduced him at a meeting that took place on Bay Farm Island) I found him to be an honest man and a square-dealer. Of course he made mistakes, but he didn't try to cover up those mistakes or pretend that they were successes when they were really failures.

I just want to say, "Thank you, Matt Naclerio." It was a pleasure working with you and I hope that you find employment that rewards your kind spirit and expertise.

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