Richmond City Council voted to terminate City Manager Carlos Martinez at Tuesday’s council meeting.
In a 4-3 vote during closed session, Councilmembers Eduardo Martinez, Demnlus Johnson III, Nat Bates and Melvin Willis voted in favor of terminating Martinez. Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Ben Choi and Jael Myrick voted against the termination.
As a result of the vote, Rochelle Polk, the Community Services Director, has been named Interim City Manager.
Martinez, former City Manager of East Palo Alto, was selected as Richmond’s city manager in October 2018.
He quickly fell out of favor with the leadership of Richmond’s unions, which accused him of unfair labor practices and which formed a coalition calling for his ouster. Last month, union leaders held a rally outside City Hall accusing the City Manager of misrepresenting the city’s budget deficit and calling for layoffs of top managers after union leaders requested their first cost-of-living adjustment in four years.
Leaders and members of the city’s multiple unions, including those representing general employees as well as police and fire personnel, publicly spoke in favor of terminating Martinez prior to council’s vote Tuesday.
“The coalition of labor, the working people of our city, have come to the decision that we can no longer move forward in our present management situation,” said Ben Therriault, president of the Richmond Police Officers Association.
According to Don Gosney, a city insider who runs Radio Free Richmond, Martinez will receive a severance package with one year’s salary and benefits. His five-year contract included $260,000 in annual salary and about $358,000 in total compensation.
At the council meeting, Martinez did not make a statement about the decision to terminate. He did not return outreach for comment.