Oakland Mayor Jean Quan officially named Blackwell, the assistant to Deanna Santana, who resigned Monday. The move was swift; coming just hours after a report broke news of Santana’s departure.
Quan intends to name Blackwell the permanent replacement for the post, according to press release, and plans to ask the City Council for confirmation of her choice. Blackwell, an Oakland native, returned to the city in 2011 after stints leading San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency and the Mayor’s Office of Community Development.
"Anyone who works with Fred immediately recognizes that his reputation as a brilliant, dedicated, get-it-done leader is well deserved,” said Quan. “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."
Under Santana, Blackwell has been instrumental in some of the city’s biggest development projects, including the Oakland Army Base and Coliseum City projects.
Despite a strained relationship, Quan offered positive words for Santana even after two attempts to seek other employment recently in Dallas and Phoenix. "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."
Blackwell is slated to replace Santana effective at noon, Tuesday.