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Oakland hires its sixth department head this year

OAKLAND — Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth on Friday announced the hiring of a new director of planning and building, William Gilchrist.
Gilchrist has 35 years of planning and urban design experience in both the public and private sectors, most recently as the director of the New Orleans planning department.
The Oakland position was thrust into the spotlight on Dec. 2, 2016, when the deadly Ghost Ship fire in which 36 people perished uncovered that building inspectors had visited the Fruitvale warehouse just weeks before the inferno.
Gilchrist begins Sept. 11, taking over the duties from interim director Darin Ranelletti.
“I am excited to have William join our team at such a pivotal moment to help lead our work to protect affordability, increase safety and build new units for all Oaklanders,” Schaaf said in a statement.
Gilchrist is the sixth department head Landreth appointed this year, following the hires of directors in public works, information technology, finance, human resources and new police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.
The Oakland fire chief position remains the only vacant department director position. City spokeswoman Karen Boyd said 23 people have applied and interviews are underway. Boyd would not say how many candidates are external or internal. Chief Teresa Deloach Reed, facing criticism from the department’s handling of Ghost Ship and fire inspections, retired in May.

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