Whether Anna Gwyn Simpson is qualified to serve as interim city manager of Martinez -- and that's doubtful -- is secondary to the City Council's abusive process that led to her appointment.
A divided council Wednesday appointed Simpson interim city manager with a five-month contract, ostensibly while the elected city leaders look for a person to permanently fill the post.
It's mind-boggling that Mayor Rob Schroder and council members Anamarie Avila Farias and Mike Menesini would select someone with no department management experience to run a city of 37,000.
It's worse that they would rebuff attempts by council members Mark Ross and Lara DeLaney to see Simpson's résumé and interview her before making the appointment.
The council has no decision more important than its appointment of the city manager. That person runs the city on a day-to-day basis, making personnel decisions and carrying out the council's policies.
The selection should be a process in which all council members are allowed to fully participate. But it seems that the council majority had its own agenda, to promote Simpson, Farias' former colleague at the Oakland Housing Authority, after just six months in Martinez.
This saga began with the departure of City Manager Phil Vince, who resigned abruptly in October. Assistant City Manager Alan Shear was the obvious choice and had agreed to take the interim post -- until Farias started meddling.
The paper trail shows that Farias wanted Shear to promote her former colleague, Simpson, and Public Works Director Dave Scola to acting assistant city manager positions, doubling the number of top assistants, and providing each of them a raise.
When Shear presented an alternative plan, he was, according to DeLaney, "viciously berated and insulted" in closed session. Ross corroborates DeLaney's account. Shear apparently read the writing on the wall and wisely declined the interim city manager position.
Why Simpson suddenly became the council majority's fallback is perplexing. Her résumé, which Schroder provided two days after the appointment, shows municipal jobs as a senior policy analyst in Oakland and a project analyst in San Francisco.
Since coming to Martinez in July, she has worked on economic development and marina-related issues. While important tasks, they are not the sort of responsibilities from which one usually jumps to the helm of a city.
Nevertheless, if the council majority wants to make a foolish decision, that's its prerogative for which it must answer only to the voters. But all the council members should be a full part of the process and should have an opportunity to make an informed decision.
That didn't happen.