Home Antioch Antioch Set to Hire Former San Francisco Police Captain as Interim City Manager

Antioch Set to Hire Former San Francisco Police Captain as Interim City Manager

by ECT

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council will vote on whether or not to appoint Cornelius Johnson as Interim City Manager. They will vote on approving an employment agreement.

Johnson would replace Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal who announced in September the intent to retire at the close of 2021, ending a thirty-six (36) year career in public service. The staff report did not disclose a start date nor a salary for Johnson if approved.

For Johnson, he has been working with Thorpe since November when it was announced he was apart of the Mayors transition team. This group was comprised of city council members, city staff, private citizens and advocates.  Johnson and City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith with co-chairs of his police reform effort.

During the 2020 election, Johnson offered three campaign donations to Mayor Thorpe’s election campaign.  In 2016, he also hosted a campaign fundraiser at his home for Monica Wilson who was running for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor.

Johnson was also with Mayor Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson when Thorpe unveiled his police reform proposals back on February 22 at a press conference.

According to the Staff Report

Although the City Manager position is an existing budgeted full-time position and funding is available in the current budget, with the impending retirement of Ron Bernal, the current City Manager, the cost of the Interim City Manager position will be $xxx,xxx of this amount, $xxx,xxx will be the cost to the General Fund


With the impending retirement of City Manager Ron Bernal at the end of this calendar year, City Council began taking steps to initiate a search for a new City Manager and to maintain continuity of leadership by appointing an Interim City Manager to serve in that role until a permanent City Manager is selected.

The City has significant current and ongoing projects and initiatives. Obtaining a transfer of organizational knowledge from the current City Manager to the Interim City Manager is paramount to maintaining momentum and continuity.

Mr. Johnson has extensive managerial experience. He is a former San Francisco Police Captain. Some of his career accomplishments include:

  • Collaborating with various departments in creating the first African American Community Police Relations Oversight Board, San Francisco Police Department.
  • Developing and implementing Cultural Awareness, Cultural Competency and Racial Bias in police training for staff
  • Providing monthly updates to the Board of Supervisors, and Police Commission relating to San Francisco Police Department community-policing strategies and efforts
  • Collaborating with the Department of Health, Department of Youth Services and Juvenile Hall Center developing, planning, administering, overseeing the San Francisco Police Department city-wide Violence Intervention Program with a budget of $20 million and a staff of 60 mid managers and supervisor.
  • Collaborating with criminologists to develop, implement, and manage the first of its kind gun violence reduction initiative “Operation Cease Fire”.

Mr. Johnson possesses a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. He also possesses a POST  Management Certificate.

Meeting Details

Antioch Mayor Releases Statement

Antioch, Calif., (November 5, 2021) – Today, the City of Antioch has announced that Cornelius Johnson has been nominated to serve as Interim City Manager.

Having 17 years of managerial experience with the City and County of San Francisco, most recently as a captain in the San Francisco Police Department’s Field Operations Bureau, Johnson managed a $300 million budget and oversaw 600 staff members

Having risen up the ranks within the San Francisco Police Department, Johnson was the architect of San Francisco’s community policing efforts having established San Francisco’s Director of Community Policing position within the police department. Throughout his career, Johnson has devoted his career to establishing strong bonds between his agencies and the residents he has served.

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration, and a Master in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

The City Council will vote on Johnson’s contract at their Tuesday, November 9th meeting. If appointed, Johnson will become the first African-American City Manager in the history of the city of Antioch.

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STREET-SWEEPER Nov 5, 2021 - 5:27 pm

Y’all fucked now.

Frank Nov 5, 2021 - 6:26 pm

Oh hell no. This guy bought his way into this shit show. He’ll turn this position into a political position. I believe Ron was a straight shooter and I cannot believe a person contributing to political campaigns can occupy this position. Just another Lamar crony.

Coastrider Nov 6, 2021 - 6:56 am

Always been done this way. You have an issue with The Who part, not the the what. Why was this a fine way to do things when ethnic exclusion was the way???

Kevin Nov 5, 2021 - 7:47 pm

Will say it again, elections have consequences and you get what you get Antioch. Want change? Get off social media and go sign the recall papers and get involved in the actual meetings. Nothing against Mr. Johnson and his career as a cop, but he has no experience being a city manager and even the staff report proves that. This is about Thorpe ramming more of his agenda down everyone’s throats. Good luck. Invest in lube.

Plague Nov 5, 2021 - 8:00 pm

More plague leading the infestation!

Rufus Long Nov 6, 2021 - 2:04 am

This is really hitting bottom! How much did this “Cornelius” contribute to Lamar’s projects?

Robert C. Nov 6, 2021 - 5:07 am

Yep, cronyism worthy of Mr. Trump. How ironic.

Willie Nov 6, 2021 - 12:04 pm

Nice to see the mayor exaggerating Mr. Johnsons experience. Would expect nothing less. I really don’t care who the city manager is as long as its not someone tied to Thorpe and Wilson for unchecked power. This is not going to end well for Antioch.

Tom Nov 6, 2021 - 12:05 pm

Why hire an interim city manager that has no experience or education in city management? You have an experienced assistant city manager to run the city during the process of hiring a qualified candidate. If you treat our city as a training city you are not giving the citizens the quality of management we deserve.

Martin NMN Nov 6, 2021 - 3:12 pm

This phrase says it all ……… “Johnson was also with Mayor Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson when Thorpe unveiled his police reform proposals back on February 22 at a press conference.”

. . . .

I was wondering who this dude was. Now it’s clear.

Ava Grant Nov 6, 2021 - 4:48 pm

With all the problems Antioch has, the next City Manager should be someone with years and years of experience managing a city the size of Antioch. Being a police captain doesn’t cut it.

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