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Kensington Director Metcalf Resigns Amid Fireworks

A member of Kensington's five-member governing board, Mari Metcalf, has resigned with a blast of criticism against other board members. A special board meeting will be held tonight, Thursday, to discuss the process for filling the vacancy.

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.

anna shane December 22, 2012 at 07:19 PM
John, I don't know who you are, and I find your comment that indicated you know me, chilling. I removed my own comments after Mr. Mabuhay responded in the way he did. I think there has been enough piling on and blaming of the two women, and the election was only my interest while it was possible to correct the dysfunction on the board - that ship has sailed. I was still willing to comment on the performance and knowledge of sitting board members relevant to what I consider their jobs - I think Tony should be aware of his responsibility to oversee Greg, it's weird he thinks that he has no legal right to do the job he was elected to do. I think LInda should be more concerned about the defamation (and potential legal consequences) of fellow Board members than about her angry insistence that Mr. Harman be called only "Chief Harman," I find that a weird focus on her part. (You can listen to the meeting tapes, just like me.) Now we have a video of the last meeting, and I find it strange that Greg Harman made a point of defending his need many extra (six?) police fellows at board meetings, right after Mari made her farewell speech, rather than Chuck asking for an investigation into what Mari's issues are, since she's the second woman to quit the Board citing the same reasons. I find it strange that no women have lasted with Mr. Harman and that he finds that funny and a new way to mock Mari. Please delete your personal comments about me.
John December 22, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Sorry, I didn't intend for you to think that you knew me or that I knew you. My mom, who is of the same age as you, has a doctoral degree in psychology and I have seen her go quite ballistic on people who don't call her Dr. Therefore, I was trying to be polite in the use of your formal title. I deleted my comment even though it was just my observation from your posts on these forums. I honestly do not know you nor do you know me.
Alvin Mabuhay December 23, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Even though you deleted your comment (John) to Dr. Shane, I got a copy sent to my email. I think you were spot on! It amazes me how Shane felt compelled to go on and on and on....with her criticisms of the board and yet, when she is even slightly challenged here, she does what Metcalf did-quit. Birds of a feather.
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA December 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM
You don't know anything about it if your beliefs are based on what you may have read in the distorted writing in The Outlook, much of which was repeated on Patch. We lost two well-qualified, brilliant directors this year. The issues they tried to question are in fact actually and finally, belatedly, being addressed directly by the Board. If you were from Kensington and attended the crucial meetings you would have known that. Then your opinions might have meant more than just mouthing off.
Alvin Mabuhay December 25, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Ahhh, I see-but what we heard from the voted-out and the quitter...that's the accurate account? What I do know is that she falsely accused an officer of a crime. After that-there is no credibility from her or anyone who defends her.

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