Sources: San Jose City Manager Ed Shikada Will Resign

San Jose Inside has confirmed with multiple sources that Ed Shikada will resign from his post as city manager, the top appointed position in the city.

While no announcement has been made officially, sources at City Hall say Shikada has been calling top directors on staff to personally notify them of his departure. Many top-level staffers expected an announcement to be made Tuesday, when the City Council met twice in closed session to discuss Shikada's recent performance evaluation. At least a few council members were irritated that Shikada fired Alex Gurza, a deputy city manager and director of the Office of Employee Relations, without informing them beforehand.

The issues of dysfunction in the city manager's office, however, appear to be much larger than one—and now a second—employee being let go. A "hostile environment" has been growing worse since the summer, according to sources.

Shikada's decision to resign is being forced by the council, according to one source. It would be a more graceful exit than being fired, which the council has the power to do because the city manager position is classified as "at-will." Shikada took the job a year ago and there has been speculation that the next mayor, Sam Liccardo, wants someone new in the position.

Top managers within the city who are being floated as possible interim replacements include: Kim Walesh, who recently became a deputy city manager in October after overseeing the Office of Economic Development and Norberto Dueñas, also a deputy city manager. There's even a suggestion—and hold on to your hat—that former City Manager Debra Figone could be considered.

UPDATE 9:04pm: San Jose's public safety unions are not happy with the resignation of City Manager Ed Shikada, and Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo is getting the bulk of the blame. Norberto Dueñas will take over the role of city manager on an interim basis, city officials announced earlier in the day. Below is a joint release from the San Jose Police Officers Association and Local 230, which represents the city's firefighters.

"San Jose Police Officers and Fire Fighters hope for a new direction from San Jose City Hall has been squashed as Ed Shikada was forced to resign as City Manager by Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo and several outgoing members of the city council that want to continue the disharmony and discord with city workers. 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 critical neighborhood services.

"Mayor-elect Liccardo has spoken of 'reaching out' to city workers and finding a compromise to the legally flawed Measure B and other issues, unfortunately his actions speak volumes about his true intent; securing power and continuing the divisive policies of his predecessor.

"The removal of Ed Shikada and the rush to appoint a city council replacement to fill the vacant District 4 seat leave us with no alternative but to await the appointment of a new city manager and the seating of an elected city council representative for District 4 prior to entertaining any discussion or negotiation with the Mayor-elect, or his representatives, on any topics other than those we are legally required to conduct.

"This is a sad time for San Jose and those of us who were looking to move our city forward. We wish Mr. Shikada the best of luck in his future endeavors and appreciate his honesty, collaborative approach and strong character."

UPDATE 2:20pm: City Manager Ed Shikada announced his resignation in an email to staff at 2:14pm. Below is the full message:

Dear San José Employees,
Earlier this afternoon I officially informed Mayor Reed and the City Council of my decision to resign as San José City Manager, effective January 1, 2015.
Serving as your City Manager has been a truly rewarding experience and extraordinary journey for me. Over the last year, I’ve had the privilege to lead an extraordinary team of dedicated employees who demonstrate their innovation and dedication to serving the best interests of the people of our community. Together we’ve made tremendous progress, and I am proud of the achievements we’ve made together.
Through the past year we have demonstrated that our workforce has the spark to define its own destiny. We made incremental and increasingly ambitious improvements, and demonstrated the willingness to make a difference wherever possible. We built momentum toward resilience. If people appreciate what we were able to accomplish, the tools are now in place to continue and build on this engagement into the future.
I want to thank all of you for the work you do every day during my time with the City, both as City Manager and over the past twelve years I have been in San José. I am confident that you will continue your outstanding professionalism and commitment to serving our community.
Ed Shikada
City Manager​


Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. Of course Shikada is being forced out. He’s the one person with any real power at City Hall who was interested in forging a decent relationship with City Employees. It also exposes Liccardo’s claim that he wants to mend fences as the lie we knew it was.

    • I agree. Ed understood that the mayor made a deal with its workers. Cut your salary 10% and if pension reform passes we will go to the voters for a sales tax increase. The mayor reneged on this promise to city workers leaving them high and dry. Ed was the only one left who understood this. Any city would be lucky to have him. He is a good city manager. Well qualified and smart and level headed. Lord knows who we will get now. All flash in the pan and the city will suffer for it.

  2. Figone has no business coming back to urinate on the ruins that she helped create! There is no moral compass at City Hall!

  3. Bet that when he accepted that position he had absolutely no idea that the position would cause him to lose his salary a short time later. Bet he’s sorry he accepted it.

  4. Sadly there are no “Top Managers” in San Jose . ALL the good ones left a long time ago . There are now only “Puppets left over from the Reed regime. This more than anything should prove to people that San Jose is the place to be From , but NOT the place to be . This City has become truly Pathetic and only seems to be getting worse .

    • Yeah… “Top” managers does not refer to an employees performance level. This designation is in reference to their position in city management.

  5. Anyone with half a brain is jumping off this sinking ship and heading for better waters. That includes public safety and employees in general. Sam is a talking Chuck, talk BS but has not intention to discuss a real solution to pension reform.

  6. If only the IPA would do the same but her pay check is to good to step aside. Same for Chucks buddy “Aka Gang consultant” hell I could tell you we have a gang problem. I bet I could spin the numbers better and say we are are a gang free city.

  7. Is it just my imagination, or is all the venom and vitriol directed at city government officials coming from the people who love big government, or at least love the Party of Big Government?

  8. In sorry to see Mr. Shikada leaving. His departure is our common loss. He was not a “flashy” me-oriented manager. Instead he was a leader who communicated clearly, led by example and was fair and reasoned in his responses, unlike having to sort out the twisted logic of his predecessor by reading about decisions published in the local rag of a newspaper.

    I know of an instance where the City “Leadership” team had decided an employee needed to “go” for alleged misconduct, but when the City Manager directed an inquiry as to the FACTS it turned out the employee had a medical malady which caused his odd behavior totally unlike his previous fifteen years of outstanding service! The worker had a medical problem that fully explained the employee’s unusual conduct. Mr. Shikada appropriately acted, the long time employee got the needed medical help and was treated with respect due to any long term hard worker. San Jose kept an excellent employee whose training and experience had cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain.

    Mr. Shikada’s departure will leave a very large gap of decency, respect for others and common sense which is sorely lacking at the highest levels of leadership in the hallways of San Jose City government.

    Any organization hiring him will be doing a great service to their community. Once again we see the smart, competent, capable and caring employees fleeing the den of iniquity that has become the City of San Jose. I look forward to seeing where his next job is. It’ll probably be a great place to live if he is leading the team of civil servants there. We would be fortunate to live there.

    • Jim, I couldn’t have said it better. Ed was really a top notch City Manager. We will miss his honesty, collaborative approach and strong character. Ed will make another City very happy soon.

      • See, “top notch” doesn’t fit in this administration. They are full of “messy” management. They don’t know any different, so “top notch” is out of place for them. Doesn’t fit in their “world”.

  9. Although I retired more than six years ago I did have the pleasure of several meetings with ED. Sorry to see Ed go — I really liked him.

  10. I think! The City Manager was standing in the way of Liccardo who wants to unload the SJPD and it’s thugs and reinstitute a legitimate Police Force unbridled from emotional instability. The POA originally represented the rank and file as professionals then came the change to try and have equal power with City Government. SJPD then became secretive, protected criminal cops and self employed. The battle now is between the unelected POA trying to act as co-City Politicians.

  11. *I* think he was too employee friendly, understood the issues, maybe had some empathy for them and liccardo didn’t like that, so he had to go. liccardo wants to stack the deck with people who is just as employee distant as he is.

  12. Losers always cry crocodile tears…lets move on..”its not enough to tell me you care when we all know your words were empty as air”

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