Oakland city administrator to take helm of SF nonprofit 

click to enlarge Fred Blackwell
  • AP Photo/The Contra Costa Times, Anda Chu
  • Fred Blackwell, Oakland's new city administrator, poses for a photo at City Hall in Oakland on March 26, 2014. Blackwell says he is leaving to become the CEO of the nonprofit San Francisco Foundation, which grants tens of millions of dollars annually to community organizations across the Bay Area.
Oakland’s top nonelected city official has resigned to take a high-profile philanthropic position in San Francisco, becoming the second person to announce they are leaving the city post in as many months.

Oakland City Administrator Fred Blackwell said Wednesday he will become CEO of the nonprofit San Francisco Foundation, which grants tens of millions of dollars annually to community organizations across the Bay Area.

His departure, however, comes at a time of instability in Oakland. The previous city administrator abruptly resigned last month, and the city is looking for a permanent police chief after three people occupied the post in the past year.

The move also could pose a political challenge to Mayor Jean Quan, who is in a tough battle for re-election in November, University of San Francisco political scientist Corey Cook said Thursday.

Quan said she will replace Blackwell on an interim basis with Henry Gardner, who was Oakland city manager from 1981 to 1993.

Blackwell will continue in his current job in Oakland through mid-June to help with the transition.

Mayor Ed Lee said Blackwell’s new role will be an asset to the entire region.

“I’m looking forward to working with him, especially on the critical issues that face San Francisco, like affordability, income inequality and housing,” Lee said in a statement.

Blackwell is a former San Francisco redevelopment director.

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