Oakland has signed a $49,500 contract with Ralph Andersen and Associates to complete the stalled search for a permanent police chief.

The city anticipates reopening the application window through the end of April and naming a permanent chief by June, spokeswoman Karen Boyd wrote in an email. The city will consider candidates who applied during the previous recruitment process.

The search came to a halt in December when the original recruiter quit the search claiming interference from the mayor's office. The city pulled out of negotiations with another recruiting organization over its policy against offering benefits to the partners of employees in same-sex relationships.

Oakland to consider minimum wage hikes

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06:  A man walks by the Oakland Police headquarters on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  Oakland City officials have come to
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06: A man walks by the Oakland Police headquarters on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California. Oakland City officials have come to an agreement to forfeit broad power over the Oakland Police Department to a court-appointed director to avoid federal takeover. The new compliance director would have the power to seek approval from a judge to fire the police chief. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Justin Sullivan)

Councilman Larry Reid is pitching a more modest minimum raise hike for Oakland than a proposal a union-led coalition is trying to get on the city ballot this November.

Next month Reid will ask the council to increase Oakland's hourly minimum wage from $8 to $10.20. That is less than the union-backed proposal, which calls for a $12.25 minimum wage that would increase with inflation and require employers provide at least five sick days for minimum wage workers.

The city has commissioned a study to gauge the impact of various minimum wage hikes. A final vote on any minimum wage increase likely won't occur until May.

Restaurant leaders have argued that a sharp minimum wage increase might dissuade top chefs from setting up shop in Oakland. Proponents of a $12.25 per hour minimum wage say it will lift thousands of low income workers out of poverty.

The council could simply pass the $12.25 per hour proposal backed by the SEIU Local 1021. It also could opt to approve a smaller minimum wage increase and let voters decide on the larger increase if it qualifies for the ballot.

Earlier this month, the Richmond City Council voted to raise its minimum wage to $12.30, which will be the highest rate in the state.

Reid said he hoped passage of a smaller minimum wage hike might dim the chances for a $12.25 minimum wage in Oakland next year.

"I think it's too much, too soon," he said. "My hope is that my colleagues will listen to all the folks that will be impacted and come up with something that is fair."

San Leandro's Cassidy to run again

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy has officially launched his re-election campaign.

Cassidy was elected in 2010 in San Leandro's first ranked-choice election, which allowed voters to choose their first, second and third choice candidates for a single office. Ranked-choice eliminates the need for a runoff election.

Cassidy said that since he has taken office, the city has eliminated its deficits and had a balanced budget each year. San Leandro's reserves are being rebuilt and city workers are contributing to their pension benefits, he said.

"I set the bold goal of San Leandro becoming a center of innovation in the Bay Area and beyond. We have made remarkable progress," Cassidy said in a statement. "San Leandro's high-speed fiber loop, called Lit San Leandro, is bringing high tech and advanced manufacturing businesses to our city, creating quality jobs and revenue for our city to invest back into the community."

Former Mayor Tony Santos received 62 more first-place votes than Cassidy in 2010 but not enough for a majority. Cassidy won after the ranked-choice algorithm was run.

The San Leandro mayoral and council election is in November.

Newark postpones vote on development

The City Council has postponed its decision on whether to approve a developer's plan to build a housing development on contaminated land.

The plan might lead Newark leaders to use eminent domain to seize and purchase land owned by Gallade Chemical, a chemical-supply company whose attorney sent a 19-page letter to the city a few hours before Thursday's meeting.

Newark staffers covet Gallade's property, hoping to turn it into a park. But council members postponed their vote after receiving the letter, which argues that Newark failed to properly notify Gallade of its plans before holding public meetings on the issue. The company's attorneys say the notification "violated local, state and constitutional laws."

Trumark Homes intends to build 244 single-family residences on two parcels totaling nearly 25 acres as part of Newark's so-called Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development.

But environmentalists and regulatory agencies worry that transporting the contaminated soil during site cleanup will threaten the health of nearby residents.

Now, the earliest the council might vote on the development proposal would be April 10, city staffers said.