Mayor nominates Dee Williams-Ridley as interim city manager, pending City Council approval

Christine Daniel has served as Berkeley's city manager for three and a half years. She is leaving her position July 24 and will serve as assistant city manager for the city of Oakland starting in August.
Mitzi Perez/Staff
Christine Daniel has served as Berkeley's city manager for three and a half years. She is leaving her position July 24 and will serve as assistant city manager for the city of Oakland starting in August.

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After a closed session of City Council on Tuesday night, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates nominated the current deputy city manager to serve as interim city manager.

If approved by the council, Dee Williams-Ridley will serve as the interim city manager for a six-month period after Christine Daniel leaves the position July 24. According to Bates, he and the council will monitor Williams-Ridley’s performance during this period and decide whether to appoint her to the position permanently or consider other candidates.

Bates said that Williams-Ridley’s 20-year career in city government and five months as Berkeley’s deputy city manager qualify her to serve as interim city manager, and that it was clear to him that council members expressed approval for his nomination during the closed session.

As deputy city manager, “you have to be a good manager of almost 1,400 employees. You also have to be able to delegate, inspire other people and provide good leadership,” Bates said.

Councilmember Kriss Worthington said Williams-Ridley has experience in human resources and information technology that is well suited to the city’s needs.

“People who have dealt with her in her first months describe her as both results oriented ‎and very open to listening to department heads, employees and the public,” he said in an email.

Before beginning her career in Berkeley, Williams-Ridley served as the deputy city manager of Modesto, where she oversaw various city departments for four years. She has also served as Modesto’s human resources director, San Mateo County’s associate director of human resources and Sacramento County’s personnel services manager.

Daniel announced in June that she will serve as an assistant city administrator for the city of Oakland starting in August.

“As our City Manager for the past three and a half years, she has demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness and executive acumen in meeting the extraordinary demands imposed on the top administrator of a proactive city like Berkeley,” Bates said in a press release.

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin also praised Daniel, calling her “a fantastic city manager” and noting her “creativity around the budget” and her “commitment to really managing the city’s fiscal health.”

Bates’ nomination — which proposes that Williams-Ridley be paid a $225,000 annual salary to match Daniel’s current salary, with an additional $1,600 housing allowance — will formally go before City Council at its July 14 meeting. If confirmed, Williams-Ridley’s appointment will be effective July 25.

Contact Sally Littlefield at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @slittlefield3.