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New: Mayor's Chief of Staff Leaves City of Berkeley, Joins UC Berkeley's Community Relations Office

Thursday November 17, 2011 - 07:55:00 AM

Julie Sinai, the long time chief of staff to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, is resigning to take a job as the new director of Local Government and Community Relations at UC Berkeley.  

She’ll replace Caleb Dardick, who abruptly resigned from that position earlier this year after two years to take a job with an environmental non-profit in the Sierra foothills, near his family home. 

In a widely circulated and forwarded email this week addressed to “Friends and Colleagues” Sinai announced her departure. She’ll leave the Mayor’s office on November 30, take a month off, and start work at UC Berkeley on January 2, 2012. 

The Mayor’s website says Sinai “serves as the Mayor’s policy advisor on youth, education, jobs, health, social service issues, inter-government relations and is the press contact for the Mayor's Office.” 

The office of Government and Community Relations at UC Berkeley has a mission defined as “…to demonstrate the value of UC Berkeley as the nation's leading public research university to elected officials, government agencies, the local community, and the public at large; to assist governmental entities in the development of public policy; and to increase public support for the University and UC Berkeley's interests.” 

Some of the projects on the local government website include “Student Neighbor Relations” including dealing with party noise in off campus student housing and student discards at the end of the semester, the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund which gives grants to community groups, the CalNeighbors Newsletter, and management of People’s Park. 

The local government office website still lists Dardick as Director, although he left months ago for a job as Executive Director of the South Yuba River Citizens League in his home town of Nevada City. His father, a former County Supervisor there, died in May. 

Sinai is not the first individual to make the jump from a city position to the UC administration. Dardick himself had worked for Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean before coming to the University. In the 1980s Daniel Boggan, Jr. the Berkeley City Manager, resigned to take a Vice-Chancellor’s position at the Berkeley campus. In the 1960s Berkeley Police Chief William Beale became the UC Police Department Chief at Berkeley. 

Here’s the text of the e-mail Sinai circulated: 

“Greetings Friends and Colleagues, 

I apologize for the mass email, but I wanted to let you all know that I’ve accepted the position of UC Berkeley’s Director of Local Government and Community Relations.  

As you are likely aware, I left the Berkeley Unified School District in 2002 to work with Mayor Bates on his top agenda issue of youth and education. Now, with all levels of education massively under siege from multiple fronts, I’ve decided that this is where I need to refocus my professional efforts. This position gives me the opportunity to work for accessible and quality education by strengthening the partnerships between the University and Berkeley, the East Bay, the greater Bay Area, and the private sector. 

I want to extend the warmest of heartfelt thanks to Mayor Bates for letting me have the honor of serving him and the City of Berkeley for these past nine years. These have truly been the some of the most fulfilling years of my career. Mayor Bates is a visionary leader who has the rare ability to transform his values and ideas into actions and results.  

I also want to thank the wonderful team we’ve had in the Mayor’s Office – Calvin, Sbeydeh, Nils and Cisco – for sharing their commitment, expertise, and good humor. It has been a joy to work with this dynamic people over the years. 

I look forward working in my new capacity with the City Council, City staff, 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth, the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership, and all our community partners to make Berkeley, Cal and the East Bay the best place in the world. 

My last day in the Mayor’s Office will be November 30th. After a relaxing month of December, I will begin my new position at UC Berkeley on January 2, 2012.”