Oakland, CA — Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth today announced the appointment of two key executives: Edward Reiskin as Assistant City Administrator and Guillermo Cespedes as Oakland’s first permanent Chief of Violence Prevention.
“Following robust and extensive recruitment processes to fill these key executive positions, I am delighted to welcome Ed and Guillermo, both of whom are extraordinary leaders with deep roots in Oakland and passion for the work here,” said City Administrator Landreth. “They each bring enormous depth of experience, keen insight into the primary challenges we are tackling in Oakland, and strong leadership presence to guide important work ahead. I am excited to welcome them to my senior leadership team.”
Edward Reiskin—Assistant City Administrator
Mr. Reiskin has more than 30 years of experience in the private, academic, nonprofit, and public sectors. He returns to Oakland from the City and County of San Francisco, where he has served in several executive leadership capacities over the past 12 years. Most recently, since 2011, Mr. Reiskin has served as the Director of Transportation, leading the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), where he oversaw the municipal railway (Muni), parking, traffic engineering, bicycle and pedestrian safety, accessibility, key initiatives, and taxi regulation. At SFMTA Mr. Reiskin was responsible for more than 6,000 employees, a $1.2 billion annual operating budget, and a $3 billion capital budget.
Before joining the SFMTA, he was appointed in 2008 by Mayor Gavin Newsom as Director of the Department of Public Works. He led Public Works’ three divisions with more than 1,100 employees, whose responsibilities ranged from engineering, construction management, and project delivery to graffiti removal, street cleaning, and public engagement programs. Mr. Reiskin also served as the first Director of the City and County's 311 Customer Service Center.
Prior to joining the City and County of San Francisco, he served as the Interim City Administrator and as Deputy Mayor for the Government of the District of Columbia. As City Administrator, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of government, provided oversight to government agencies under the mayor's authority, and guided functional, policy and budgetary decision-making on behalf of the mayor. As Deputy Mayor, he served as senior advisor on public safety issues and provided leadership and direction in the management of departments such as police, fire/EMS, corrections, and 911/311. He also served as the District's liaison to independent, federal, and regional public safety agencies, and as the District of Columbia's Homeland Security Advisor.
Prior to joining the District of Columbia government, Mr. Reiskin worked for three years for the City of Oakland as an Assistant to the City Manager. In that capacity, he led citywide initiatives, supported and coordinated the work of city agencies, particularly in the areas of public safety and community development, and implemented programs and policies of the City Council and Mayor of Oakland.
“It is an honor and privilege to return to Oakland, a city that captured my heart and anchored me in the Bay Area,” Mr. Reiskin said. “The energy in Oakland is palpable and its soul gives it a character that sets it apart from any other city. I look forward to joining the City Administrator's team and helping to advance the work of equitably, professionally, and compassionately serving the needs of the people of Oakland.”
Mr. Reiskin holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University's Stern School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. Reiskin will assume his duties as Assistant City Administrator on August 26.
Guillermo Cespedes—Chief of Violence Prevention
Mr. Cespedes is a seasoned expert in domestic and international violence prevention. His early career began in Oakland, where for 18 years he worked with families at Eden Children’s Center in San Leandro, the Spanish Speaking Citizen’s Foundation in Fruitvale, Oakland Children’s Hospital, and Vista Community College. In 2000, Mr. Cespedes moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded Summer of Success (SOS), a gang violence reduction strategy in South Los Angeles. SOS was implemented for two consecutive summers, resulting in an 82% reduction in homicides the first summer, and 34% the second.
In 2007, the newly formed Los Angeles’s Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) incorporated the Summer of Success approach, renamed it Summer Night Lights and asked Mr. Cespedes to join the office, initially as director of the Summer Night Lights Program.
In 2009, he was appointed Deputy Mayor/Director of the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development. In that role Mr. Cespedes co-authored the citywide comprehensive strategy that featured 16 approaches including: a family systems model of gang prevention; an incident response gang intervention and police response protocol; and a gang intervention training academy. In addition, Mr. Cespedes led the city in establishing evidence-based diagnostics and rigorous evaluations of its efforts. In 2012 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an agreement with the City of LA/GRYD to export some of the practices co-authored by Mr. Cespedes while leading GRYD to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
In 2016, Mr. Cespedes moved to Honduras to guide the implementation of a family systems-based violence prevention program funded by USAID. He has adapted a similar family systems-based approach to violence prevention in Tunisia, North Africa; El Salvador, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Guyana.
“I am honored and very excited to return to Oakland to join professional colleagues, community advocates, and elected officials in building a balanced, comprehensive violence prevention strategy,” Mr. Cespedes said. “Of course I will draw on my experience in leading proven efforts domestically and internationally, but Oakland is unique and it will require building on what is already working, and being honest about what has to be improved.”
Mr. Cespedes has Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in History/Psychology from Sacred Heart University.
He will lead the City’s Department of Violence Prevention (DVP), created by the City Council to better align, amplify, and elevate Oakland’s violence prevention efforts. The mission of the department is to work directly with victims of violent crime—and those who are most likely to be future victims or perpetrators of violent crime—to dramatically reduce violent crime, and to serve communities impacted by violence to end the cycle of trauma using a public health approach and community-led strategies. He begins his new role on September 23.
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