ALBANY -- Mayor Peggy Thomsen and Vice Mayor Joanne Wile were reappointed to their posts for one-year terms by their fellow City Council members on Dec. 2. Although council members traditionally rotate into the positions, this council unanimously approved both.

This will be Thomsen's fourth term as mayor. The prior two years came during her previous terms on the council (1996-2004).

"We didn't rotate mayor because Peggy Thomsen is good at it," Councilman Michael Barnes said.

The council also put off a decision on health care for council members.

Members currently enjoy better health care benefits than some city workers. Employees and council members can choose between two plans, one from Kaiser and a more expensive plan offered by Blue Shield.

The city makes employees pay the difference if they elect to take the Blue Shield plan, but council members who elect to take that plan don't have to pay the difference. The arrangement has prompted claims of unfairness at a time when city staff members have to do more work with fewer resources due to budget cuts.

The council decided to authorize research on how counterparts in area cities are compensated. The report will be presented at a future council meeting, most likely early next year.

Also, the council met in closed session regarding the contract for Penelope Leach to take over as city manager. No action was taken. According to City Clerk Nicole Almaguer, "the contract is still in negotiation, and anticipated to be ready for council action as part of the council agenda for Dec. 16."


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Leach, currently the city's recreation and community services director, was selected to replace longtime city manager Beth Pollard, who retired in August. Former Emeryville City Manager Patrick O'Keeffe has been serving as interim city manager.