The Oakland City Council has appointed Barbara Parker to fill the elected City Attorney’s seat for the balance of the current term ending January 7, 2013.
She’s a longtime Oakland resident and former second-in-command of the City Attorney’s Office.
Councilmember Libby Schaff nominated Parker to fill the vacant City Attorney position. The vote was 5 to 3.
“I would like to thank the Oakland City Council and the public for this extraordinary opportunity to continue serving the city that we all love,” Parker said Tuesday. “I am honored by your support, and also empowered and excited by the work that we will do together to fight for the best interests of our city, the community and all Oaklanders. I will work hard in an effective, ethical and transparent manner to earn your trust as City Attorney and to address the historic challenges facing the Oakland community.”
Parker served as Acting City Attorney since the June 13 following the departure of former City Attorney John Russo. She has practiced law in the private sector and at all levels of government – federal, state and local. She is a 1975 Harvard Law School graduate and previously served for more than five years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California.
John Russo said the Oakland City Council made a the right decision to by selecting his successor.”She’s imminently qualified”, said Russo, the former City Attorney and also a former Oakland Councilman.
“Ms. Parker is uniquely qualified to provide stewardship to the City Attorney’s Office during these challenging times. She has a brilliant legal mind and is a fine human being – principled, unfailingly professional and passionate about the city,” said Joyce Crum, an Oakland resident and one of dozens of members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority who attended the meeting Tuesday. Parker is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority – an international nonprofit service organization.
“There is no question Ms. Parker is the ideal person for the appointment given her fine legal education at Harvard Law School, her illustrious legal career in both the private and public sectors and her on-the-job experience. Barbara will be a City Attorney for all of Oakland,” business owner Geoffrey Pete told the City Council on Tuesday.
Parker “is very well qualified … and has the respect of others in the City Attorney’s Office,” Oakland resident Judy Cox said at the meeting. “This is a crucial time for the City when we need continuity and competence, not politicizing of the City Attorney’s Office.”
Also speaking in favor of Parker’s appointment was Wayne Nishioka, President of the Alameda County Bar Association.
Parker has 20 years of experience at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, including more than 10 years as Chief Assistant City Attorney. As the Chief Assistant, Parker represented the City Attorney’s Office at virtually all City Council meetings for the past decade. Her responsibilities included directing all legal advice provided to the Mayor’s Office, City Council, City Administrator and all other City Boards, Commissions and Departments.