Emeryville Public Works Director Maurice Kaufman Abruptly Resigns After 28 years

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Emeryville Public Works Director & City Engineer Maurice Kaufman announced his unexpected resignation on Monday. “I want to inform you that I will be resigning my employment with the City of Emeryville to pursue other endeavors,” Kaufman noted in an email circulated to City Staff and Council. “I have fully enjoyed my 28-year career with the City of Emeryville and appreciate having had the opportunity to work with all of you and the community on so many interesting projects.” Kaufman’s last day with the city will be on May 31st.

The timing of Kaufman’s resignation comes with many important projects in the queue most notably the $20 million South Bayfront Bridge that was slated to begin construction this year. The bridge is a project that Kaufman had been involved with since its inception and will provide a vital link within our city.

The Public Works Department is already a bit thin as there are three staff vacancies at a time when existing projects continue to see long delays. “Clearly our efforts will be directed to keeping those projects moving forward, without significant delay,” noted City Manager Carolyn Lehr when we reached out. “We’re hopeful that it will remain on track” added Community Development Director Charles Bryant at last nights’s Planning Commission meeting.

Public Works is responsible for designing, inspecting, and managing the City’s Capital Improvement Projects that include:

  • City parks
  • Sidewalk and street construction / reconstruction
  • Street lights
  • Storm drains and sewer
  • Traffic signals
  • Water

The entire Capital Improvement Program project tracking list can be viewed below:

“His service is marked by many attributes–commitment, dedication to his profession, tenacity in achieving program goals, and a wealth of knowledge and perspective about the City’s dramatic transformation in the time that Maurice has served that all of us have valued,” added Lehr in an email to staff and council. “I personally value Maurice’s willingness to apply his full energy, expertise and management skills to any challenge that came his way—all with a collaborative style. He is one of a kind, and tough to replace. We will work together to achieve a smooth transition.”

Kauffman oversaw many significant projects in his career with the city including the Amtrak Station, The Emeryville Greenway, Doyle-Hollis Park, The Park Avenue District renovation and most recently the popular Joseph Emery Skate Park that he listed as among his proudest accomplishments. “From working with the Bordertown Skaters to find a site in Emeryville for a skatepark, selling the concept to the City Council, identifying the funding, hiring one of the best Skatepark Architects,  having workshops with the skaters to get their buy-in on the design concept, obtaining a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation, hiring one of the best contractors, completing the project under budget with high quality workmanship, and most importantly, seeing all the skaters using and enjoying the park makes me proud.”

Kaufman is the latest in a series of high-profile, long-time staff departures from Emeryville’s redevelopment fueled “Boom Town” era that coincided with Nora Davis’ time on Council. Davis retired last year from council after 29 years of serving our city.

“My employment with Emeryville has been a large chapter in my life and I am very proud of all we have accomplished to transform this City. Even though I will miss all of you and the uniqueness of Emeryville, I am looking forward to new challenges and starting a new phase of my career.”

Kaufman’s total compensation in 2015 was $228,248 according to TransparentCalifornia.com.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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