Whitney Barazoto, Executive Director – Whitney Barazoto joined the City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission as Executive Director in April 2012, with over 15 years of public service experience focused on enhancing government integrity – from ethics to efficiency – at state and local levels. During her tenure in Oakland, Ms. Barazoto has spearheaded key projects such as the Commission’s Toward Collaborative Transparency review and vision, the drafting of the City’s newly adopted Government Ethics Act which expanded the Commission’s authority to enforce ethics laws, and the creation of www.OpenDisclosure.io, a web application visualizing campaign finance data developed in partnership with the City’s OpenOakland (Code for America) brigade. She also led the Commission’s efforts to expand its staffing, resources, authority, and independence, now codified in the newly amended City Charter, as passed by voters on November 4, 2014.
Before coming to Oakland, Ms. Barazoto was senior staff to the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy (Little Hoover Commission) from 2008-2012, where she managed complex oversight reviews of California State policy, operations and management that produced recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. She previously served as Government Affairs Director for the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), California’s watchdog for activities related to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbyist registration, and gifts to public officials. Prior to the FPPC, Ms. Barazoto worked as an aide in the California State Legislature, managed a county government program, and investigated theft and fraud in the private sector.
She holds a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. .
Jelani Killings, Program Analyst (part-time)
– Mr. Killings joined the Commission's Intern Team in October 2013 to conduct government ethics research, draft policy analysis, and develop civic engagement programs. In August 2014, Jelani started as a part-time Program Analyst. Endowed with a strong passion for community outreach, Jelani has extensive experience with youth development as the Program Coordinator at STS Academy, an after-school tutoring program. Active in his Pittsburg community, Jelani is currently serving as a board member on the Contra Costa County Economic Opportunity Council. Jelani has a B.A. in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and is currently earning his Masters in Public Administration at California State University East Bay.
Laura Mandler, Law Clerk - Ms. Mandler is a student at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Laura served as a Commissioner on the Sacramento Youth Commission as a high school student, where she was first exposed to the workings of local government commissions. During the summer of 2010, she worked as an intern for the California State Senate Office of Research where she monitored state regulatory commissions and meetings. After spending her first 18 years in Sacramento, Laura attended Seattle University, where she graduated with a B.A. in politcal science in June 2013. She chose to attend law school in San Francisco to learn more about the Bay Area, its politics and also be closer to her family. Laura would like to practice Environmental and Land Use law for a local government in order to help develop more sustainable, vibrant and civically-robust cities.
Phyllis Meehan, Research Intern - Ms. Meehan joined the Commission in June 2015 to provide administrative and research support. Ms. Meehan is currently earning her B.A. in Public Policy at Mills College and will graduate in spring 2016. Along with interning with the PEC, Ms. Meehan is working with the Institute for Local Government as a Public Engagement intern. With her experience at both the PEC and ILG, Ms. Meehan hopes to start a career in local government to advocate for better public outreach, government transparency, and civil engagement.
*Special thanks to our talented former interns who generously volunteered their time to the Commission:
Emily Vaughan, Civic Engagement Project Consultant (2014) - As a Masters of Public Policy candidate at UC Berkeley and a graduate student fellow with the Public Ethics Commission, Ms. Vaughn conducted an extensive analysis of public engagement practices in Oakland. She previously worked with the Office of Public Engagement at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as an online campaigner at Care2.com, where she helped connect online activists with nonprofits working on their issues of interest.
Greg Gonzales, Policy Analysis Project Consultant (2013) – As part of the Advanced Policy Analysis (APA) Master’s Thesis program at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, Mr. Gonzales conducted a broad policy review of the Commission’s Limited Public Financing Act. This was a semester-long research project that culminateed in a report to the Commission in May 2013. Mr. Gonzales has a B.A. in Government, Minor in Philosophy, from the University of Texas at Austin. After completing the APA project, he received his Masters in Public Policy in May 2013.
Maegan Wilborn, Publishing Intern (2013) – Ms. Wilborn assisted with the reformatting and updating of the Commission’s publications, including the Boards/Commissions handbook, Oakland Campaign Reform Act Guide, Lobbyist Registration Guide, and Limited Public Financing Guide, to name a few. She holds a B.A. in English, Minor in Creative Writing and History, from the University of California, Riverside.
Joanna Saeteurn, Research Intern (2013) – Ms. Saeteurn assisted the Commission with research projects and gave general administrative support. Joanna has a strong interest in learning how legislative policies are designed and implemented. As an Oakland resident, Joanna also works as an academic mentor for elementary school students. Joanna is currently earning her B.A. in political science and pre-law at California State University East Bay.
D’nnette Savannah, Legal Intern (2012) – Ms. Savannah conducted legal research and analysis for the Commission and assisted with amending our Complaint Procedures. She has a B.A. in Government from California State University, Sacramento and a J.D. from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.