from the office of the Mayor:
Mayor Jean Quan has appointed Fred Blackwell as the City Administrator of Oakland, effective at noon Tuesday and subject to confirmation by the City Council.
“I am excited to make this appointment and continue my work with Fred in a new role,” Quan said. “Anyone who works with Fred immediately recognizes that his reputation as a brilliant, dedicated, get-it-done leader is well deserved. These skills, together with his deep roots as an Oakland native and his passion for our city, make him the perfect choice to help carry forward our priorities of public safety and economic development.”
“I am honored and eager to get to work,” Blackwell said. “As an Oakland native, I’ve seen what this great city can be and I’m excited about this point in my hometown’s history. We’re experiencing a great rebirth in our economy and seizing opportunities with more success than ever before, Mayor Quan and I are focused sharply on making sure everyone in Oakland takes part in that success.”
Oakland City Council President Patricia Kernighan said, “Fred has done outstanding work already in his two years with the City. He’s been a dynamic and engaging partner to the City Council as we work to make Oakland safer and create jobs and opportunities for our residents and businesses. His leadership is a great win for the City and I’m looking forward to what’s next.”
Blackwell has served as Assistant City Administrator since September, 2011, when he was brought into the administration to head up economic development efforts. Since then he has been instrumental in creating tremendous economic growth for the city, taking lead roles in resurrecting long-dormant, transformational projects and carrying them to fruition. These include the Oakland Global infrastructure project at the former Oakland Army Base and the Coliseum City development. He arrives in the City Administrator role as a rising star with a sterling, exciting reputation.
Blackwell is an Oakland native whose family has been long known for their engagement, leadership and important contributions to civil rights issues and strengthening the Oakland community. He has more than 15 years of experience in nationally-recognized nonprofit and public sector leadership roles. Prior to his position in Oakland, he served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco, and the Director for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections Initiative in Oakland. The latter was a multi-year, multi-million dollar neighborhood revitalization project to improve outcomes for children and families in East Oakland.
Blackwell holds a graduate degree in City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, and received his Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Morehouse College.
Upon Blackwell’s 2011 appointment in Oakland, the Oakland Tribune noted he had “a reputation as one of the most successful redevelopment directors in the state,” and “by all accounts a strong leader with vision.” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson recently credited Blackwell as “the chief architect of the city’s development efforts.”
Quan praised City Administrator Deanna J. Santana and thanked her for her service to Oakland.
“I knew when I hired Deanna that if she was successful in Oakland, larger cities would begin recruiting her,” Quan said. “It’s clear that’s happening now: major cities across the country want to try what Oakland has been doing. Deanna has been a tireless worker and leader, and together we made great strides stabilizing and strengthening the city’s finances through the recession and the loss of the state’s Redevelopment program, as well as reorganizing and rebuilding our police department. I thank Deanna for her service and wish her the best.”
Quan and Blackwell are finalizing the details of an employment agreement for him to take the permanent position. In accordance with the city charter, Quan will seek the City Council’s confirmation for the appointment.