Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has named City Hall veteran Anne Campbell Washington as her chief of staff.
In a news release Monday, Quan called Campbell Washington, former chief of staff for former Mayor Jerry Brown, "a consummate professional." Campbell Washington also has held high-ranking positions in the city administrator's office, the budget office and, most recently, as assistant to the Oakland fire chief.
Campbell Washington ostensibly replaces Sharon Cornu, Quan's deputy mayor who resigned last week. However, the mayor said she decided instead to restructure her office. As chief of staff, Campbell Washington will oversee Quan's office and staff and serve as the mayor's senior policy adviser. She will work closely with City Administrator Deanna Santana and other agency directors and the City Council.
"I'm going to be focusing on economic development, my 100-block strategy and the school partnership," Quan said. "(Anne's) strength is that she knows the city and the departments very well. She has hit the ground running."
Campbell Washington said she loved working in the fire department but joked that "when the mayor calls and asks you to be her chief of staff, you have to step up."
Jokes aside, Campbell Washington said she was pleased to work for Quan and to help her implement her vision for the city at such as critical time.
"The mayor has a strong vision and strong work ethic," she said. "It's a difficult time for her
Quan said she gave Campbell Washington time to think it over, given the turmoil caused by Occupy Oakland, a recall effort aiming to get her out of office and the failure of a ballot measure that would have been used in part to pay for police.
"Even though I thought I knew how tough it was being mayor, I didn't realize how tough it was," Quan said. "Being mayor is really tough, and being chief of staff is really tough."
The mayor's office also hired communications consultant Darolyn Davis to fill in while spokeswoman Sue Piper is on vacation for two weeks. Karen Boyd, a spokeswoman for the city administrator's office who often shares some of those duties, also was called away last week for a family emergency.
Davis said she will fill in on an as-needed basis. She came in a few days before Piper left town and will leave a few days after Piper returns. She said she was not brought in as a crisis consultant.
"It's a very busy time, and they needed someone to work during that time," Davis said. "I just happened to come in at a time when a crisis was happening."
Davis said she is being paid approximately $160 an hour for her services. Quan said the money to pay Davis -- and Nathan Ballard, another consultant who was briefly on board for a special communications project -- is coming from her office budget.