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Shikada resigns as San Jose city manager

San Jose City Manager Ed Shikada, acknowledging the City Council wanted new management, Wednesday announced his resignation as of Jan. 1, the day Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo takes office, according the city officials.

Shikada, who become city manager last Dec. 21, said in a statement that he led “a smart, innovative team” over the past year that made progress as the city continued to recover from hundreds of employee layoffs since the Great Recession in 2010.

But while calling his tenure “a truly rewarding experience,” Shikada said in a statement that the city appeared to want to go into a different direction and it was time to leave:

“As the city moves into 2015, and understanding the City Council’s desire for a change in management approach, I have decided it best to resign from my position at this time, effective January 1, 2015.”

Liccardo, a city councilman who narrowly won the mayor’s race over Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese on Nov. 4, takes office as of Jan. 1.

The City Council is already planning to hold a special session Friday to consider filling the job Shikada will vacate, according to city communications director David Vossbrink.

The council that day also will consider appointing an interim member to replace District 4 Councilman Kansen Chu, who is leaving after being elected to the State Assembly, Vossbrink said.

In the appointed position of city manager, Shikada serves as the city’s chief administrative officer, reporting to the council, overseeing the city’s $2.9 billion yearly budget and its 5,600 employees, he said.

Shikada, whose salary is $250,000 a year, joined the city as a deputy city manager in March 2003 and was promoted to Assistant City Manager in June 2010 prior to his appointment as city manager last December when he replaced his boss, Debra Figone, according to Vossbrink.

Unions representing San Jose police and firefighters issued a statement this evening condemning what they called Shikada’s “forced resignation,” saying that the move has “squashed” their hope for better relations between the council and city employees:

“Mr. Shikada attempted to find common ground to resolve the many contentious issues that have crippled San Jose and its ability to adequately staff its police department, respond to emergency medical calls on time and recruit and retain an educated workforce to deliver crucial neighborhood services.”

The unions said that they would wait until a new city manager was appointed and a new City Council member seated before resuming talks with Liccardo.

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