The City of Santa Rosa has hired Daryel Dunston as its new assistant city manager, where he will provide leadership to Housing and Community Services, Information Technology, Planning and Economic Development, Community Engagement and Violence Prevention Partnership, and Homelessness Services. His first day will be August 22.
With over 15 years of public employment experience, Dunston joins the City of Santa Rosa following a recent career with the San Francisco Foundation, where he served as senior director and led a team that worked alongside government partners, nonprofit organizations, and donors to fund public/private initiatives that advance equity, economic inclusion, housing stability, and community belonging.
“Daryel’s combination of public service, emergency operations knowledge, public policy insight, and executive leadership will make him a great addition to the City of Santa Rosa,” said City Manager Maraskeshia Smith. “In addition to his impressive professional background, his enthusiasm for public service will be integral as the City wrestles the difficult challenges of housing, homelessness, emergency operations, and community development.”
He has held multiple roles in local government over the last two decades, including serving as a firefighter/EMT and assistant fire marshal for Prince George County, Maryland. Following his time in Maryland, Mr. Dunston took his leadership skills to Northern California, where he served as the human services program manager and senior policy advisor to the vice mayor for the City of Oakland and was selected as Oakland’s first homelessness administrator.
Mr. Dunston also served as the operations section chief within Oakland’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during the City’s response to the COVID pandemic, beginning in 2020. He led an interdisciplinary team that established testing sites and contact tracing protocols while implementing emergency programs and services to assist local business owners, senior residents, and the unsheltered population. His significant accomplishments include establishing Oakland’s first RV safe parking program and opening an emergency shelter to house up to 120 unsheltered seniors, utilizing FEMA trailers complete with running water and electricity. He is also credited with doubling the City’s homeless outreach capacity; and worked with elected officials to unanimously pass an Encampment Management Policy – the first of its kind in the Bay Area.
Dunston completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP). He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., a black, Greek-lettered organization founded in 1914 whose motto is “culture for service, service for humanity.” Embodying that theme, Dunston also sits on UCSF’s Community Engagement Council, GSPP’s Board of Advisors, and serves as a Chair of GSPP’s Alumni Board.