HAYWARD — City Manager Greg Jones announced Friday that he will step down from his post in order to pursue a seat on the Hayward school board.
Jones had been looking into whether he could hold both positions simultaneously, but was informed by the state Attorney General's Office that it would create a conflict of interest.
"A previous decision on a similar situation indicates that it does in fact create a legal conflict," he wrote in an e-mail to city staffers sent out late Friday afternoon.
In that decision, then-Attorney General Daniel Lungren ruled in 1997 that the city manager of South San Francisco could not serve on the same city's school board because the potential "clash of duties and loyalties" makes the roles incompatible.
In his letter, Jones said it was a "very difficult decision (he arrived at with) mixed emotions," and that he has "grown to have deep respect and admiration for the employees of this organization."
However, he said that given the state of the school district and the resulting impact on the Hayward community, he would rather serve as a school board trustee than as a city manager.
Jones served as the city's top administrator for two-and-a-half years.
Councilman Bill Quirk called it "a terrible day" after hearing the news of Jones' resignation.
"I just couldn't say enough about him," Quirk said. "He's very good at bringing in good people, and good at promoting people from within."
Quirk said Jones has a "horizontal management system" that allowed him to keep in close touch with what was going on in various departments.
Jones said he will be working with the City Council in coming weeks to develop an exit strategy.
He will be forfeiting a base salary of $180,000 in order to pursue a board seat that pays a monthly $750 stipend.
Three spots will be up on the school board this fall. Sarah Gonzales resigned last month, citing health and family reasons. Trustees Sheila Sims and Paul Frumkin each will be up for re-election. Sims said she intends to run, while Frumkin is still exploring his options.
City Councilwoman Anna May also plans a run for the school board, and she and Jones have confirmed that they are running mates. May said they have been interviewing candidates who could run with them as a slate for the election in November.