The Santa Rosa City Council is pleased to announce the selection of Maraskeshia Smith as Santa Rosa’s next City Manager. Ms. Smith’s employment agreement will be considered at an upcoming regular City Council meeting in December. Pending contract approval, Ms. Smith’s tentative start date is January 3, 2022. Ms. Smith was selected after a nationwide recruitment and selection process involving local members of the community, city staff, and the city council. She brings more than 21 years of government experience to the role and will be the first African American woman to serve as the City’s chief executive.
“I am very excited for Ms. Smith to be Santa Rosa’s new City Manager,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers. “Not only is she exceptionally qualified, but she also has a proven track record of lifting others up through mentorship and public service. Ms. Smith will be a tremendous addition to our city and to our community.”
In her current role as deputy city manager of the city of Stockton, California, Ms. Smith oversees economic development, human resources, municipal utilities, public works, and affordable housing and homelessness initiatives. During her time in Stockton, Ms. Smith has been instrumental in managing the city’s COVID-19 response, launching the city’s first Office of Performance & Data Analytics, distributing nearly $40 million in rental assistance, launching an economic development action plan, implementing strategies to reduce gun and gang violence, creating a pipeline for affordable housing, and launching a Clean City Initiative.
Prior to joining the city of Stockton, Ms. Smith served as Assistant City Administrator to the city of Oakland, California, where she provided leadership to libraries, planning and buildings, human resources, animal services, parks and recreation, human services, community development, and homelessness services. At the onset of the COVID pandemic, Ms. Smith was instrumental in launching a mobile COVID-19 testing site in Oakland to ensure that first responders – police, fire, and other frontline workers – could get tested, and then quickly expanded testing to include all eligible employees. During that time, the city of Oakland was one of the first cities in the nation to offer testing to employees that were not sworn police or fire personnel. Ms. Smith was also instrumental in adding over 800 shelter beds, 1,200 affordable housing units, reducing construction inspections, and eliminating a backlog of rent adjustment hearings.
In 2015, Ms. Smith was appointed Cincinnati’s first African-American female public works director, where she led the department for nearly ten years, managing daily operation of traffic and roads, sanitation, facilities, fleet management and emergency operations. She was instrumental in enhancing the quality of life for Cincinnati residents, and her accomplishments have been recognized for contributing to neighborhood revitalization and code enforcement. Under Ms. Smith’s leadership, she oversaw the design and construction of a 39,000 square-foot police district headquarters, which became the first LEED Platinum and net-zero energy police station in the world.
Ms. Smith has been active in the communities where she has lived and worked serving on a number of professional boards and commissions, including the Commission on Housing and Support Services, International City Management Association, National Forum of Black Public Administrators, American Public Works Association, Municipal Waste Management Association, National Black MBA Association, and the International Public Managers Association. She has also been a committed board member to a number of to service and faith-based nonprofits supporting youth education and development, including Bluegrass Community and Technical College, United Way of the Bluegrass, YMCA Black Achievers, Tubby Smith’s Club House, Step By Step Worldwide Ministries, and Michael John Vision for Success Committee.
Ms. Smith has received several accolades during her career including the City Manager’s Innovative Government Award, Public Technology Institute GIS Award, Public Technology Institute Innovation Award, Design-Build Institute of America Award, Frank F. Ferris II Planning Award, AIA Cincinnati Design Award, and NAFA Fleet Management Association Top 100 Fleets Award. She holds an MBA from Eastern Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Kentucky.
“Ms. Smith is extremely accomplished and has implemented many significant projects for the communities she has previously served,” said Santa Rosa Vice Mayor Natalie Rogers. “And to top that, it’s so exciting that she is both a woman and African American. With Maraskeshia Smith at the helm, the future of our city is looking bright.”