OAKLAND -- Mayor Jean Quan is almost done assembling her core staff, as she announced Thursday she's hiring union leader Sharon Cornu as her top aide in intergovernmental affairs.

Cornu, who will coordinate with Sacramento and federal agencies for Oakland, has been a force in local politics for years. She has led political programs in the AFL-CIO's 100,000-member umbrella labor organization in Alameda County since 2003. Last May, she was tapped to serve as national field director for the AFL-CIO, where she worked on helping Democrats try to hold Congressional seats and win key governorships. She was named Woman of the Year by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson in 2007.

Still vacant in Quan's core staff is one final position: a senior analyst in economic development. Quan said Thursday the job is a tricky one to fill. She's looking for somebody who can bring the fresh perspective of an outsider while at the same time having the institutional knowledge of an insider.

The search is also on for a new city administrator. Dan Lindheim remains in the position he has held since the second-half of former Mayor Ron Dellums' term. The job is the highest nonelected position in Oakland government, and the city is offering a salary range between $176,00 and $264,000.

Quan said she's hoping to find someone by the end of March.


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"I was laughing with Ed Lee," an old friend of Quan's who was sworn in this week as San Francisco's interim mayor after serving as city administrator there, "because I had been trying to steal him away and he kept saying, 'Oh, I'm happy in this safe, nonpolitical job,' " Quan said.

Quan will fly to Washington, D.C., next week for a state dinner with President Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, the president of China.

Contact Sean Maher at 510-208-6430.