Paradise Valley names Jill Keimach as next town manager

Jill Keimach (Submitted photo)

After several months of searching, Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner announced Thursday, March 28 that Jill Keimach would become the next town manager.

The Town Council unanimously approved Ms. Keimach’s employment agreement at its March 28 meeting at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive. Ms. Keimach will join the town May 20.

The town hired Ms. Keimach after a national search that yielded eight candidates, Mr. Bien-Willner said prior to the vote. He also said he is “excited to open this new chapter for the town.”

Ms. Keimach comes to the town from Alameda, Calif. where she was the city manager from 2016-18. Prior to her departure, Ms. Keimach had secretly recorded a dispute between her and two councilmembers over who to hire as a fire chief, according to news reports.

Recording someone without their knowledge is illegal in California unless the recording is made under the belief it may show certain criminal conduct. Ms. Keimach, per news reports, alleged the two Alameda councilmembers were pressuring her to hire a specific candidate.

After an investigation in late 2018, the District Attorney’s Office concluded there was not enough evidence to prove Ms. Keimach broke any laws and she was cleared of all wrongdoing. Later, she received a $945,000 severance package.

She was also the town manager in Morgana, Calif. from 2010-16; community development director for the City of Fremont from 2004-10 and for the City of El Cerrito from 1998-2002; senior planner project manager for the Bay Area Rapid Transit from 1997-99; and a project manager for the Bay Area Association of Governments from 1989-97.

Mr. Bien-Willner expressed gratitude to Brian Dalke, the interim town manager, as well as other town staff for their efforts during the searching process. Councilmember Julie Pace also expressed gratitude for Mr. Bien-Willner and the town council for their efforts.

“I think it’s very exciting that we have a new candidate who’s going to be wonderful,” she said. “I just wanted to commend you for your efforts as well as everybody who joined in and our whole council. It was a lot of time and effort. Great candidates and great choice.”

The town manager role became open in June 2018 when Kevin Burke left the post to work for the City of Peoria. In his stead, the town named Mr. Dalke as the interim town manager.

On Oct. 25, the Town Council announced Mark Perkins would assume the role after he was a city administrator in Creve Coeur, Missouri. About a month before he was set to take the role, Mr. Perkins declined his contract, leaving the town searching for a new replacement in December 2018.

At a Jan. 24 council meeting, the town announced it would resume its search and ultimately close accepting applications in late February.

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