Annemarie Conroy lands on her feet ... again


You might remember local political cog Annemarie Conroy from such films as The Career Hack and How to Get Inexplicably Bigger Job Titles in San Francisco Without Real Credentials. After disappearing for a while, she's back. Joe Russoniello, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, just announced that Conroy is his new "law enforcement coordinator."


Her primary responsibilities will be to "maximize the use of federal resources to meet crime abatement objectives," be a "chief liaison to local law enforcement officials" and direct the district's "Project Safe Neighborhood and Weed and Seed programs." Despite the confusing title, that last program there involves taking on drug activity and gangs with the feds, which she’s no doubt suited to do.

Some of you might recall the trajectory of Conroy's career. Dan Noyes at ABC 7 pointed out in 2005 that when Newsom appointed her to head San Francisco’s Office of Emergency Services, she had no experience in disaster management, but she did have political connections, just like Michael Brown, head of FEMA when Katrina struck. A retired Navy admiral who held the job before Conroy went public and declared that Newsom should remove her for being ill-prepared, and behind the scenes, the fire department wasn’t happy about her post either. She finally resigned in January of 2007.

Among her listed credentials in the U.S. Attorney’s press release announcing Conroy’s new job is her successful completion in March of this year of the Homeland Defense and Security program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. But her participation in the program didn't become public until after Noyes’s embarrassing stories ran well into her tenure as head of emergency services, a job that paid $160,000 annually at the time.

Conroy and the mayor both faced mounting criticism for her stubborn refusal to step down as head of the local agency in charge of coordinating San Francisco’s response to an earthquake. Ideally that’s not the kind of position we’d allow to be taken over by a patronage appointee.

She began her political career as a board supervisor appointed to City Hall by her godfather, Frank Jordan, when she was just 28 years old. She lost her reelection bid two years later, so Jordan appointed her to the police commission until Willie Brown, in turn, sent her to Treasure Island as a commissioner there.

By the time Newsom was elected, she’d mysteriously become our top emergency official in a political shake-up known eventually as the “triple play.” Newsom wanted to get the famously combative supervisor Tony Hall off the board, so he promised Hall a gig at Treasure Island, sent Conroy from there to head the emergency services department and put ally Sean Elsbernd on the board in Hall’s place. None of the moves were made to ensure good public policy all around, unfortunately, but it did ensure Newsom was more comfortable politically.

*Image courtesy of PBS

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