Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao (at podium) with (left to right) Chief of Staff Leigh Hanson, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, and Chief of Education and Community Safety Brooklyn Williams. Credit: Amir Aziz

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao announced the members of her senior leadership team today, including the two public servants who will fill in as interim city administrators until a permanent candidate is appointed.

Oakland Public Works Director G. Harold Duffey will take over as interim city administrator after Ed Reiskin leaves at the end of this month. Duffey will serve until Mar. 13, when Steven Falk will take over. Falk previously served as interim city administrator in Oakland from three months in 2020, after Sabrina Landreth resigned from the post.

“I am very sad to see Ed [Reiskin] go,” Thao said in a statement today. “He has been a tremendous resource for me both during my time on Council and over the last few weeks. And he has been a stalwart leader for everyone in our city during his tenure.”

Reiskin is leaving Oakland to take a job as vice chancellor at UC Santa Cruz.

Oakland Public Works Director Harold Duffey at a Feb. 2022 press conference. Credit: Amir Aziz

According to the city, Duffey has worked as the chief executive for three cities—Grand Terrace, Compton, and Oroville. He was appointed director of public works in July 2021. He has also worked for the public works departments of Yolo and San Bernardino counties, and the cities of Sacramento and Riverside.

Falk is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. Prior to serving as Oakland’s interim city administrator in 2020, he was the longtime city manager of Lafayette. But he resigned from the job in 2018, citing his disappointment with the city’s unwillingness to build more housing. In 2019, he was appointed interim city manager of Richmond.

Steven Falk. Credit: Courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Thao’s senior leadership team

Other members of Thao’s senior leadership team include Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, who will serve as deputy mayor, Chief of Staff Leigh Hanson, and Zach Goldman, chief of policy & legislative affairs.

Mayfield is a professor of education at Holy Names University, and Thao has tasked her with recruiting a historically Black college or university to open a campus in Oakland, among other duties. She advised Ron Dellums’ administration on education issues and serves as education policy adviser for the BWOPA state board.

Hanson served as the GLIDE Foundation’s interim chief development officer where she oversaw the San Francisco nonprofit’s fundraising activities. She was previously the deputy chief of staff for economic development for Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, and before that worked in the philanthropic sector for the Heinz Endowments, US Bank, and The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Goldman comes to Thao’s administration from the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, where he was the political and policy director from 2018 to 2023. IFPTE was a member of the coalition of unions that supported Thao’s campaign for mayor, including by spending hundreds of thousands on campaign ads, surveys, door knocking, phone calls, and more.

Brooklyn Williams will serve as Thao’s chief of education and community safety. She most recently served as a senior advisor to State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

Mayra Chavez, Thao’s director of community engagement, most recently worked for the Unity Council, where she designed and led a new business department to support small businesses, and for District 5 Councilmember Noel Gallo. Yuri Sadiki-Torres will also work in Thao’s administration as a director of community engagement. A Mills College graduate, Sadiki-Torres has worked with groups like Faith in Action East Bay and the Community Service Society of New York around housing policy, economic inequity, gun-violence and environmental racism.

Thao’s policy directors include Joe Genolio and Brandon Harami. Genolio worked on climate and transportation policy for Berkeley City Councilmember Terry Taplin and was an organizer with the Sunrise Movement. Harami was Thao’s communications and policy director in her District 4 council office.

“Jimmy” Nang Hoang will serve as special assistant to Thao. A 34-year resident of Oakland, he will work to “increase public awareness and establish stronger relationships within our diverse city,” according to the mayor’s office.

Before joining The Oaklandside as News Editor, Darwin BondGraham was a freelance investigative reporter covering police and prosecutorial misconduct. He has reported on gun violence for The Guardian and was a staff writer for the East Bay Express. He holds a doctorate in sociology from UC Santa Barbara and was the co-recipient of the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2017. He is also the co-author of The Riders Come Out at Night, a book examining the Oakland Police Department's history of corruption and reform.