The Vallejo City Council has voted to make Interim City Manager Mike Malone the city’s permanent city manager for two years.

The vote, taken during the council’s April 26 meeting, was 4-1 in favor of Malone, with Councilmember Tina Arriola dissenting. Two councilmembers were not present at the meeting.

Former Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis called into the comments portion of the vote to express his support for Malone. Davis also vouched for the idea of keeping someone in the job who had already established himself, saying that bringing in new city managers from the outside has always caused disruptive issues of continuity to the city and its staff. But opponents of Malone’s appointment wanted just that, a shake-up of what they say is a dysfunctional city in need of an overhaul and turn-around.

Councilmembers that voted “yes” all cited Malone’s accessibility and prompt response to their concerns, something they said was absent with the previous city manager, Greg Nyhoff. Nyhoff resigned last year amid myriad lawsuits against the city, including one from three employees who claim they were fired in retaliation for raising questions about Nyhoff’s leadership.

Constituent Anne Carr told the council that Malone requiring a “loyalty pledge” to Nyhoff when Malone was director of the water department concerned her. Malone responded that he had never and would never do such a thing. Malone allegedly penned a letter in support of Nyhoff that members of the city’s executive management team signed.

The decision to appoint Malone came as a shock to some community members and city employees. After Nyhoff’s rather acrimonious departure, Mayor Robert McConnell said he would like the search for a city manager to be transparent and done with community input, which did not happen.

Malone was once tangentially named in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed when he worked for the city of Sacramento. The case settled for $27,500, but Malone was accused of retaliating against the woman who filed the harassment complaint against his coworker. The city of Sacramento denied “each and every allegation” against Malone. Malone has never commented on the suit.

Malone is being offered an annual $278,000 base salary, and a housing stipend of $450 per month.

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.