ONN – Ed Reiskin To Be New Oakland City Administrator; Mayor Schaaf Picks Former San Francisco MUNI Head
Exclusive to Zennie62Media: Ed Reiskin, for eight years the Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency until he retired under duress, has been elevated from the position of City of Oakland Assistant City Administrator, to become the new Oakland Chief Administrative Officer.
Ed Reiskin comes to the Oakland top job to replace the current Interim Oakland City Administrator Steven Falk (Falk, it was told to this vlogger, didn’t want the job.). Falk, in turn, was the Lafayette, California City Manager who resigned in protest over a reported disagreement with city minders over climate change policy, who came over to replace the departing Sabrina Landreth. Mr. Reiskin will take over for Falk, and the Mayor of Oakland will make the announcement, “at the appropriate time”, according to my source, today.
Left to her position as Assistant City Administrator is Maraskeshia Smith, who has 18 years of government service, and came to Oakland from “the City of Cincinnati,” according to the statement issued by Sabrina Landreth on the day of Smith’s appointment Jun 5, 2018, “where she demonstrated great success working with the community, collaborating across multiple departments and organizations, increasing inclusion and diversity, and enhancing technology.”
What I reported before must be repeated here:
Maraskeshia Smith is currently the City of Oakland’s Assistant Chief Administrative Officer. She came to the City of Oakland from Cincinnati (where she was Director of Public Services for the City of Cincinnati) two years ago, now, and has been placed in a role that gives her a multi-pronged set of activities that starts with being the number two in command and stretches to include overseeing a number of departments, including housing and community development.
Smith has so many roles in Oakland, that she should be making more than the $152,000 she currently earns, according to records and Oakland officials I talked to. Smith certainly should be making as much or more than my friend Ed Reiskin. The once great San Francisco public official Reiskin is now with the title of Oakland Assistant Chief Administrative Officer – and is said to make double what Smith earns, or $261,000. Ed came to Oakland after enjoying a salary and benefits combination that totaled over $403,000.
Ed came over to the Oakland job as kind of a life-line after San Francisco Mayor London Breed reportedly asked him to resign after a MUNI day-long shut down due to a power-outage that was the fault of long years of lack of investment, according to the same San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority that Reiskin ran. The question is how did Ed come to land in Oakland, and at a pay rate over $100,000 more than Maraskeshia Smith?
While it’s not crystal clear, the answer may involve Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf herself, and explain why some Oakland officials are upset that Mayor Schaaf reportedly wants Reiskin to be the next CAO and not Smith. I happened to find a photo where Mayor Schaaf and Ed Reiskin were on the same McKinsey and Company panel on infrastructure in 2015 – in fact, you can see Ed smiling approvingly as Libby talked. The subject? The proposed Transbay Tunnel, which would be one of California’s largest infrastructure projects. Could it be that Libby wants Ed to focus on that project for Oakland? If that’s the case, he doesn’t need to be Chief Administrative Officer; give that job to Smith and keep him where he is.
The result would be that Smith would gain a much-deserved raise in pay that would be better than Ed Reiskin’s, and more appropriate given her roles to date. It’s also what pretty much every Oakland official wants to see happen except Libby herself. Now, what about current Interim CAO Steven Falk?
I am told the former Lafayette City Manager does not want to be the permanent CAO, and he stated that coming in. Personally, I’ve not gotten off my point that, under Mayor Schaaf, only one black man has been hired as either Chief Administrative Officer or Assistant CAO, but this glaring pay issue where Maraskeshia Smith is making $100,000 less than her station must be corrected, and as soon as possible.
Once again with my long-time friend, the optics are sadly bad: a white man who’s her friend gets a job lifeline paying him substantially more than his boss, a black woman. Yes, Ed has 30 years of experience – mostly in transportation. But Smith’s practical experience is comparable to Ed’s, and most importantly, she’s admired by many in the City of Oakland who want to see her with the title of Chief Administrative Officer.
And that, obviously, did not happen.
It can’t be said that “increasing inclusion and diversity” was the objective of Mayor Schaaf’s appointment of Ed Reiskin to the top job. That statement is not reflective of Ed’s qualifications, but of the situation he came into in the City of Oakland, from San Francisco. Ed was Deputy Mayor in Washington D.C., and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In San Francisco, where Mr. Reiskin was the head of MUNI, he was also praised for open communication, a quality that seemed to have failed him in the noted Twin Peaks Tunnel Closure of 2018, where Ed reportedly failed to inform then San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell and then (according to Mission Local‘s Joe Eskenazi) Mayor London Breed. Breed, seeing little choice considering the range of errors, ousted him. But Mayor Schaaf gave him, as I said, a life-line in a new job in Oakland. A position with a pay range that was well-over that of Smith’s, and seemed to foreshadow his appointment to be the next Oakland CAO.
Now, he is.
And I remind all, that Oakland has had only one black CAO (and Henry Gardner was interim), and no black police chiefs, under Mayor Schaaf’s watch since 2014. Moreover, the City of Oakland has not hired a black police chief since 2011.
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