Like petals from a rose blossom, the talent at Santa Clara City Hall continues to drop.
The latest casualty is Gary Ameling, our Chief Financial officer who resigned Tuesday morning. This followed shortly after Ren Nosky, our City Attorney, resigned earlier this month.
Ameling has a financial pedigree that would fill a book the size of “War and Peace.” He has been hailed as one of brightest financial gurus in the public sector anywhere in the country. Santa Clara has been the beneficiary to having him for more than a decade, as he used his skills to shepherd us through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He has accepted a position with the City of Las Vegas, which is in discussions to bring an NFL team to their city. Ameling has been admired by many residents and City staff members alike and is highly respected for his genius.
However, the climate has changed at City Hall since the elections.
Our new City Council, elected by an overwhelming majority, has interpreted their election as a mandate from the people to run the City themselves.
While it is true that we have some very smart people on our City Council, the departure of quality talent from our City Staff reflects some serious issues.
Ren Nosky has done an admirable job as our City Attorney. He has been known for his thorough investigation of the facts and providing thoughtful legal opinions. His only mistake, like Ameling’s, was arriving at conclusions not in line with the City Council’s thinking. Now in case you may think he was not qualified for the job, Nosky was snapped up by San Jose’s leading law firm, Berliner & Cohen, with more than 400 world-class attorneys on staff.
There are several ways you can look at our City Council’s actions. You could take the position that the Council is cleaning house of the deadwood. This argument might hold water if they had comparably talented replacements lined up. They didn’t and they don’t. Their appointment of a retired civil service attorney to replace Nosky on an interim basis is a spur of the moment band-aid.
Perhaps the Council will find a retired 6th grade math teacher to fill Ameling’s boots.
Or you might believe this upheaval is part of a conspiracy and Santa Clara’s top talent were colluding in a plot to extort, embezzle, and drain the City treasury. Considering the performance these staff members have provided for our City, and where they are going next, this would not be a reasonable deduction.
Or you could consider these actions as part of the “disruption” process the Mayor was quoted as saying “in a good way.”
Rumors are rampant at City Hall and odds are being placed in the office pool as to who will be next.
The most likely candidate(s) for departure will be any employee who displayed even the slightest sympathetic leanings for the SF 49ers.
You have never seen so many Raider fans, ever, than those at Santa Clara City Hall.
Best of luck to Gary and Ren. You will be dearly missed. Your service to our City was soundly appreciated by so many. We salute you and God speed.