ALAMEDA -- Oakland City Attorney John Russo has accepted an offer to become the next city manager of Alameda, where the City Council will consider his proposed contract Tuesday during a closed session.
The move follows the council offering Russo the job April 19 after it had interviewed him and two other finalists vying for the post.
Russo will make a base salary of $215,000, according to the proposed contract, which if approved would begin in June and end in June 2016. Depending on his performance, Russo can expect an annual $10,000 raise.
The contract also allows Russo to teach one seminar on municipal law at Boalt Hall School of Law next spring.
Karen Willis, Alameda's human resources director, and city Controller Fred Marsh said Russo agreed to accept the deal in a background document that they prepared to help the council review the contract.
Russo's departure from his role as Oakland's first elected city attorney has been rumored for months, especially after public fighting between him and Mayor Jean Quan.
Russo's proposed gang injunction has been a sore point, with Quan bringing on longtime friend and injunction opponent Dan Siegel as an adviser. Russo said that created a conflict that made it difficult to do his job effectively while keeping the mayor informed.
Russo's departure could have far-reaching effects in Oakland, where a judge is considering the proposed injunction aimed at curtailing the activities of suspected gang members in the Fruitvale neighborhood.
Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said that Alameda's gain is the city of Oakland's loss.
"John Russo is one of the brightest legal minds in the county, and maybe the state," Reid said. "I will certainly miss his expertise."
Reid said that he expects Russo will give him a letter stating that he has accepted the job in Alameda and the date that he will leave Oakland. At that point, Reid said that city will post the job and begin the search for a new city attorney to fill the remainder of Russo's term. The council will select the replacement. According to the city charter, if the council does not fill the post within 60 days, a special election must be held. Reid said at an estimated cost of $800,000 to $900,000 dollars, that is something he wants to avoid.
Russo is a New York City native who moved to Oakland in 1987.
He was elected to the Oakland City Council in 1994 and served six years before becoming Oakland's first elected city attorney in 2000, a job to which he has twice been re-elected.
If the Alameda City Council approves his contract Tuesday, Russo would replace Ann Marie Gallant, whose two-year contract as interim city manager expired March 31.
Gallant earned about $285,000 annually and was put on paid administrative leave in December, when the council voted not to renew her contract.
Last month, Gallant filed a claim against the city, saying the decision to place her on leave was in retaliation for her role during last year's investigation into whether Alameda Councilwoman Lena Tam leaked confidential city information to developer SunCal Companies over the future of Alameda Point.
She was hired as interim city manager after Debra Kurita quit the job in February 2009 over what she described as differences with the City Council.
Staff writer Sean Maher contributed to this report.