Ed Reiskin lands Robert Bobb’s praise (click on the video to listen to Mr. Bobb’s commentary).
Ed Reiskin, the current but as yet unconfirmed Oakland Chief Administrative Officer who was elevated from his Assistant CAO position by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, has experienced somewhat choppy waters of public opinion since the news of his hiring was broke by Zennie62Media’s Oakland News Now. Some point to his time as the head of the Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and SF Mayor London Breed’s jettisoning him, as the flashpoint of concern. But Ed Reiskin did receive praise from one legendary public administrator: his former boss, Robert Bobb.
During our wide-ranging interview last Thursday, Robert Bobb, currently head of the turnaround consulting firm The Robert Bobb Group, and past City of Oakland Chief Administrative Officer (who went from Oakland City Manager to Oakland CAO during the 1999 switch to strong mayor) took time to focus on Ed and give a forecast of what kind of city manager Oakland was getting. Ed Reiskin started with Mr. Bobb at the turn of the century in Oakland an assistant city manager. Reiskin then followed Bobb to Washington D.C. in late 2003 and eventually was named Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.
Asked about Ed during our talk, Bobb said “he came into local government doing my administration we hired him when I was city manager of Oakland. And when I left Oakland I took Ed with me. Yeah, so he was my first employee. We arrived in in DC on the same day and I promoted him three times while he was working. Came in as my chief of staff, and was the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety there when I left. Mayor Tony Williams appointed him as the interim City Administrator.”
Bobb continued “Ed Reiskin is a very smart quiet unassuming guy and extraordinarily competent, so I think he’s gonna be a good choice for the city manager’s job. I think he understands the, you know, just let the mayor do the politics, and try to keep down the in the trenches – grind to make sure that she has all of the tools that she needs to make good decisions on behalf of the community.”
“I don’t think you’re gonna see him getting into a war with (the Oakland) City Council,” Bobb added.
UPDATE: Robert Bobb’s Letter Of Support For Ed Reiskin Sent To The Oakland City Council
Mr. Bobb sent me this letter he wrote to the members of the Oakland City Council in support of Ed Reiskin being confirmed as Oakland’s next CAO:
April 16, 2020
The Honorable Rebecca Kaplan, Council President
Members of the City Council
City Council of Oakland, California
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, California 94612
Dear President Kaplan and Councilmembers,
My name is Robert C. Bobb. I am a former City Manager of the City of Oakland, and a former City Administrator, Deputy Mayor, and Homeland Security Adviser of the District of Columbia. I am writing this letter on behalf of Edward D. Reiskin whom I believe would make an outstanding City Administrator for the City of Oakland.
In both Oakland and Washington, D.C. I had the distinct honor of appointing Mr. Reiskin to positions that required competency, public trust, and the ability to work with citizens no matter their race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. He brought those traits and more to his positions serving the city and her people.
Over my career in local government I have had the pleasure of seeing 20 of my former assistant administrators go on to become City Managers and City Administrators in some of the largest municipalities in the United States. In three other cases, they became County Executives. None of those individuals were more qualified than Mr. Reiskin, none smarter, and none more committed to public service.
I know his experience in Washington, D.C., a jurisdiction that has city, county, state, and federal responsibilities, more than prepared him for the City Administrator post. When I resigned my position in D.C. government, then Mayor Anthony “Tony” Williams appointed Mr. Reiskin Acting City Administrator, illustrating the enormous confidence and trust the city’s highest leader had in Mr. Reiskin’s management. (As an aside, he held three significant executive leadership positions during his tenure in Washington.)
Mr. Reiskin has worked successfully in key leadership and management positions in municipal governments across the nation. He returns to the City of Oakland after 20 years as a much more seasoned public servant for having worked in some of the United States’ largest and most diverse local governments.
Therefore, I believe, the City Council would be wise to confirm Edward D. Reiskin as Oakland’s next City Administrator.
Robert C. Bobb
President & CEO
The Robert Bobb Group
cc: The Honorable Councilmember Dan Kalb, District 1
The Honorable Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, District 2
The Honorable Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, District 3
The Honorable Councilmember Sheng Thao, District 4
The Honorable Councilmember Noel Gallo, District 5
The Honorable Councilmember Loren Taylor, District 6
The Honorable Councilmember Larry Reid, District 7
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