Dianne Feinstein hires Bay Area politico

A shakeup in U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s state-office staff includes the hiring of a Bay Area elected official who is about to be term-limited out of office.

Outgoing San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd will become Feinstein’s deputy state director in January, working from her San Francisco office.

A supervisor since 2004 and a San Francisco native, Elsbernd, 36, also was elected chairman of the Caltrain board in 2010 and 2011 by his peers in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. And from 2009 through this year, he served on the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation Board of Directors, which serves North Bay communities.

Feinstein said she’s “delighted” to welcome Elsbernd to her team to “lead our initiatives and outreach across Northern California. Sean brings a unique set of skills and experience to his new position, having served as a supervisor in San Francisco for eight years. In that capacity, Sean was vice-chair of the Rules Committee and chair of the Transportation Authority’s Finance Committee. He also served on the Budget and Finance Committee, the Health Service System Board and the Retirement Board.”

He replaces Trevor Daley, who is being promoted to state director upon the retirement of longtime director Jim Molinari. Daley, an Arcata native who has worked for Feinstein for more than 14 years, will continue working from the senator’s Los Angeles office.

Daley earlier had worked as a scheduler in the senator’s Washington office and a caseworker in her San Francisco office. As deputy state director, he has overseen Feinstein’s Los Angeles office and outreach efforts in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties. Earlier in his career he worked for Los Angeles Councilmember Ruth Galanter.

Feinstein said Daley has done an outstanding job guiding her Southern California operations. “He has been particularly valuable in our outreach efforts to various constituency groups including business leaders, young entrepreneurs and the LGBT community, and I am counting on him to expand those efforts statewide.”

Molinari has worked on Feinstein’s Senate staff for 11 years, but first met her in 1978 when she was San Francisco’s mayor.

Back then, he wore a badge. He retired from the San Francisco Police Department as a captain after 27 years of service, but in 1994, Molinari was appointed U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of California by President Clinton. In 2001 he became executive director of the Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

“I’ve known Jim Molinari for 35 years, and during that time he has become a trusted and loyal advisor and, more importantly, a good friend,” Feinstein said. “I’m sad to see him go, but Jim has more than earned his retirement. I’m grateful for his service to California and our nation.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.