Human Resources Director Micki Callahan is retiring from City government, and Carol Isen will assume role of Acting Director

City of San Francisco logoSan Francisco Mayor London N. Breed and Human Resources Director Micki Callahan today announced a transition plan when Director Callahan retires from City government in October after 15 years of service, 13 as the Human Resources Director and two as the Employee Relations Director. This follows on Director Callahan’s previous announcement in June that she was planning to retire in October. Current Employee Relations Director, Carol Isen, will serve as Acting Director of Human Resources while a comprehensive search for the Human Resources Director position is being undertaken by the Civil Service Commission. Amalia Martinez, currently an Employee Relations Manager, will serve as Acting Employee Relations Director.

“Micki Callahan has been an invaluable leader and public servant for the City,” said Mayor Breed. “San Francisco has been lucky to have her leadership during this most recent COVID crisis when our entire workforce has faced unprecedented uncertainty and challenges, as well as in the years going back to our last economic crisis when she led us through the Great Recession. Micki has spearheaded groundbreaking equity and social justice initiatives, and she has managed challenging negotiations and modernized our hiring system with a combination of determination and grace that has served our City well. I wish her all the best in her retirement.”

“It has been a pleasure to serve the City and County of San Francisco for the last 15 years, and to work on many transformative initiatives such as pension reform, the implementation of implicit bias training, and our conviction history program,” said Micki Callahan, Human Resources Director. “Carol Isen is an excellent choice to serve as Acting Human Resources Director and is well suited to work with all city departments, labor partners, and community stakeholders to continue to keep the San Francisco at the forefront of life-changing workforce policies.”

In her 15 years at the Department of Human Resources, Director Callahan was responsible for administration of the City’s civil service system and human resources programs, including labor relations, workers compensation, workforce development, equal employment opportunity, and recruitment and assessment. She led negotiations during the 2008 great recession, and she led the bargaining process for pension and retiree health reform twice, in 2007 and 2011 and played a critical role in ensuring that medical benefits remain affordable for active employees and their families. She also launched a multi-year, multi-faceted Hiring Modernization Program.

Director Callahan spearheaded several initiatives focused on equity and social justice. She led the “ban the box” efforts for City hiring in San Francisco through the creation of a nationally recognized Conviction History program, implemented the City-wide Gender Inclusion Policy, and expanded training opportunities, notably overseeing the development and recent major expansion of Implicit Bias training. Under her direction, San Francisco is now the first major employer in the State of California to provide electronic payments of Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Director Callahan has also served as San Francisco’s Employee Relations Director. Before joining City management, she worked at the State Mediation and Conciliation Service for 10 years, serving as the Supervisor of Conciliation from 2000 through 2005. Before she became a mediator, she spent 14 years working as a union representative. Callahan received her BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Since 2017, Carol Isen has served in the capacity of Employee Relations Director for the City and County of San Francisco.

“I want to thank Carol for stepping up to lead at this critical time for our city,” said Mayor Breed. “Carol brings a tireless work ethic and decades of experience working with labor and city workers across different departments and regional agencies. She has a deep understanding of the role labor relations and Human Resources play in ensuring our workplaces are safe, fair, and create equitable work opportunities. I know she is focused on meeting our goals of increasing diversity and supporting equity, and I look forward to working with her in this important role.”

“At such a pivotal time for our city, I am honored and humbled to continue to serve the City and County of San Francisco as the Acting Human Resources Director,” said Carol Isen, Director of Employee Relations. “The Department of Human Resources is uniquely positioned to tackle the bold, aspirational and, achievable goals of building and embracing a more diverse and inclusive workforce in which our employees at all levels reflect our communities and where our differences are celebrated and valued. Achieving these goals will only improve the delivery of high-quality services to the thousands of San Francisco residents that we serve each day. I am looking forward to leading a department that is focused on these ideals and works in collaboration with community partners to achieve them.”

Ms. Isen has been involved in labor and employment advocacy and representation in San Francisco government since 1984. From 1984 to 2003, Ms. Isen was an organizer, negotiator and Associate Director for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), Local 21.

Ms. Isen previously served as the Director of Labor Relations and Community Programs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and as Chief Labor Relations Officer for BART. She is widely considered an expert in the field of labor and industrial relations, had served as chief negotiator in many bay area public agencies, on the employer and union side, was the chief negotiator for several ground-breaking project labor agreements. She has a deep commitment to civil rights in the workplace, merit system employment and promoting community development through job training and opportunities. She received her MA degree from the University of Michigan, Residential College, and her MA Degree from the University of California at Berkeley, Department of City and Regional Planning.

“Frontline public workers deserve fair and transparent leadership at the head of this important agency,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council. “Carol Isen’s appointment brings experience and credibility to this important post. We also appreciate that Ms. Isen’s appointment as an LGBTQ leader stands as a statement of inclusion and diversity for the City’s workforce.”

Amalia Martinez was an employee and labor relations lead at the University of California, Berkeley starting in 2017 until beginning her career with the City almost a year ago. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and DePaul University College of Law. She has 11 years of experience in investigating claims of employment and housing discrimination for the Illinois Department of Human Rights. During that time, Ms. Martinez supervised a team of lawyers and handled a voluminous caseload. She was raised in Chicago along with her four siblings by a single mother.

The Department of Human Resources provides human resource services to approximately 60 city departments, with a total workforce of over 38,000 employees.