New Hires Reflect Mayor’s Pledge to “Hit the Ground Running”

SACRAMENTO – Mayor Kevin Johnson announced plans to hire Cassandra Jennings and Patti Bisharat as Senior Advisors to lead his Administration heading into a second term.

“Preparations for my second term begin today,” explained the Mayor. “I want to hit the ground running, and I feel confident that Patti and Cassandra will ensure my second term is even more impactful than my first.”

Jennings and Bisharat will join the Mayor’s team with nearly six decades of combined public sector experience serving the people of Sacramento.

Jennings has 26 years of experience in Sacramento city agencies, including six years as Assistant City Manager for the City of Sacramento and 20 years at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. Jennings has worked closely with all City departments, served as a liaison to other regional governments and agencies, and played instrumental roles developing partnerships with schools, non-profits, faith organizations, and businesses on issues such as homelessness, arts, and education. Jennings has a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

Bisharat has 30 years of diverse experience in the City of Sacramento, last serving as Assistant City Manager. In addition to city operations, Bisharat has an extensive background in city finance and administration, policy issues, labor relations and governmental affairs. Ms. Bisharat holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, a Master of Public Administration degree, and served for three years in the United States Army.

Both Jennings and Bisharat will oversee the Mayor’s policy agenda, serving as the Mayor’s primary liaisons to the City Council and City Manager’s Office. Jennings will supervise the Mayor’s policy initiatives in areas including arts, public safety, homelessness, and green. Bisharat will be the Mayor’s chief policy advisor on issues before the City Council. Both will also provide oversight to key administrative activities within the Mayor’s Office.

As part of the transition, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Kunal Merchant and Special Assistant R.E. Graswich will move to external roles within the Mayor’s Think BIG Sacramento initiative. Merchant will lead the initiative as Executive Director, spearheading the Mayor’s efforts to revitalize downtown, spur economic growth and accelerate development of civic amenities like a downtown entertainment and sports complex. Graswich will serve as Director of Public Affairs, overseeing public engagement, communications, and managing relationships with Think BIG’s regional committee and key stakeholder groups.

“I congratulate Kunal and Bob for their exemplary service to my Administration and this City,” said the Mayor. “I’m confident they’ll continue to do great work as Think BIG evaluates ‘Plan B’ options for the Railyards and broadens its efforts to create jobs and economic development for our region.”

Johnson was re-elected as Sacramento Mayor on Tuesday, June 5th. The transitions announced today will take effect Monday, June 18th. The Mayor’s second term will formally begin Tuesday, November 27th.