Mari Metcalf, a member of Kensington's governing board, has resigned with a blast of criticism of fellow board members.
The board will hold a special meeting tonight, Thursday, to discuss whether to appoint a replacement or to hold a special election.
Metcalf, who was elected to the five-member Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District board in 2010, announced her resignation at the board meeting on Dec. 13.
"I will no longer attempt to participate in an agency where there is so little regard for professionalism, where there is rampant sloppiness, where the Board Policies and Procedures manual is followed when and if the Board President feels like it," she said, reading from a statement.
She said her decision follows the election defeat on Nov. 6 of fellow board member Cathie Kosel. Kosel and and Metcalf had been allies, often pitted against the board majority, in their strong criticism of the police chief's performance and what they viewed as a lack of fiscal accountability for police department spending and as unwarranted board secrecy.
In last month's election, Kosel finished third in a field of five for two seats on the board. Incumbent Chuck Toombs finished first with 1,886 votes (32.8 percent), while his running-mate, Patricia Gillette, came in second with 1,875 votes (32.6 percent), according to final returns from the Contra Costa County Elections Division. Kosel garnered 736 votes (12.8 percent), while her running mate, Jim Hausken received 735 votes (also 12.8 percent). The fifth candidate, independent Kim Zvik, received 512 votes (8.9 percent).
"Now that Ms. Kosel will be off the Board, I will be the lone voice asking for rational fiscal decisions, and I cannot do that alone with such an impossible group of people," Metcalf said.
In a news release Tuesday, newly named board President Tony Lloyd called Metcalf's resignation a "surprise."
"During her tenure," he said, "Director Metcalf was extremely critical of all of her colleagues, except for former Director Kosel whom she referred to numerous times in her five-minute resignation speech as the only other qualified and enlightened member of the board."
"Unfortunately," Lloyd added, "Ms. Metcalf missed an opportunity to thank our officers and other District-paid personnel who spend their working time making our lives better. I believe we owe it to our employees to let them know we appreciate their hard work – and a thank you is appropriate."
"While I do not agree with Ms. Metcalf’s extemporaneous public assessment of the District’s achievements, its personnel or its policies, I wish her well and respect her decision," he said.
Lloyd told Patch that the board could decide to solicit volunteers who are willing to serve and then appoint one to fill the vacant seat, or it could go the more expensive route of asking the county Elections Division to hold a special election.
The agenda for tonight's 7 p.m. meeting at the Kensington Community Center lists the following options for the board to consider in selecting a replacement:
a. Discussion and review of District’s legal counsel’s letter regarding the selection/ election process.
b. Discussion on whether to call for a special election or to solicit interested citizens who are willing to volunteer.
c. Discussion and review of proposed Notice of Vacancy and Intent to Appoint Director to the Kensington Police Protection and Community Service District (Notice) and Certificate of Posting.
d. Discussion on whether to have full open sessions for conducting of all interviews, or alternately to appoint an ad hoc advisory committee of two Board members to evaluate and interview candidates, making their recommendation to the full Board.
e. Discussion on if interviews are conducted in open session, discuss how best to conduct them, either with or without all applicants being present (while honoring any applicant’s request to be present), with or without panel interviews of all candidates together, or with sequential interviews.
f. Review of the proposed timeline for filling vacancy along with adoption of targeted date by which to select a person to fill that vacancy.
Attached to this article are the meeting agenda, Lloyd's press release and a transcript provided by Metcalf of her resignation statement.