Malibu City Manager Reva Feldman will officially resign from her post on Saturday, May 1, 2021, Malibu City Attorney John Cotti announced after the conclusion of yet another closed-door city council hearing on the evening of Monday, April 26. Cotti said that no decision had yet been made on who would serve as interim city manager.
The terms of Feldman’s resignation were unanimously approved, 5-0, by city council. She will receive a payment of $150,000 on May 1, with the possibility of another on August 1, 2021, if she has not found a new job by then. Cotti said that the city’s insurer would contribute $150,000 of the settlement amount.
The agreement also stipulated that Feldman will not sue Malibu. Both Feldman and the city council also agreed to a nondisparagement clause, which means neither party will speak negatively about the other in public.
Cotti said that the resignation agreement was not to be construed as any admission of wrongdoing by the city.
Feldman’s resignation was announced after a long saga that came to a head during the most recent Malibu election cycle, when then-candidate Bruce Silverstein pledged to work to remove Feldman if elected; Silverstein was subsequently elected in November 2020, winning the highest number of votes out of all eight candidates. On social media, Silverstein often lambasted Feldman, calling her “an unelected fascist” and “a tyrannical leader” and describing her leadership style as “opaque, unaccountable and unethical.” Feldman also told the council that Silverstein bombarded her with records requests, making it difficult for her to complete her other duties as city manager.
Feldman, whose work had been defended by other council members both present and past, initially came under fire following the Woolsey Fire, the response to which many residents feel she botched.
Feldman, via her lawyer Therese Cannata, sent the council a letter in January 2021 saying that she would agree to a payout. “Because Ms. Feldman is under a constant attack by Mr. Silverstein, she lives in fear of retaliation—for doing her job and exercising her professional judgment in the performance of her duties,” Cannata wrote. “[Feldman] is extremely distressed and frightened by recent events, causing her sleepless nights and stressful days. Mr. Silverstein presents as someone who is unstable and unpredictable.”
Feldman’s original contract was set to expire in May 2022, according to that letter. Cannata asked that Feldman’s contract be bought out for $375,000, approximately one year of her salary, meaning that Feldman’s final buyout, which totals $300,000 if all is paid, was less than her original ask.
As Cotti read out the terms of Feldman’s resignation, both Feldman and Silverstein conveyed little emotion, remaining impassive against their blue Zoom backgrounds. Neither Feldman nor any council member commented following the announcement.
Feldman worked for the City of Malibu since 2005; she was appointed city manager in 2016, according to the city’s website.