SYNCHRONICITY ASSOCIATES

Synchronicity Associates was founded upon a simple premise:  most government related proposals are either destined to succeed or fail at the moment they are made public. 

We have a demonstrated track record of moving difficult and long controversial local issues from stalemate to checkmate. This is because our founder, John Russo, is the only person in the state of California who has been a City Councilmember, a City Attorney, and a City Manager. As a result, Synchronicity Associates can spot the connections among the political, the economic, the legal, and the bureaucratic dimensions of any policy proposal early in the process.  Understanding those connections is essential to the creation of winning strategies, persuasive advocacy, and incisive tactics.

Local government agencies and the businesses who have to work with those agencies can retain excellent professional assistance in many fields—for example, financial projections, law, facilitation, political strategy, public relations experience, polling, and policy development, among others.  These disciplines, however, do not stand alone: they interact dynamically over time to indicate different strategic approaches.  Creating a strategy for real policy success requires framing a politically adept proposal, with widespread stakeholder support and strong messaging early in the process. The strategy must account for how the proposal will work its way through the bureaucracy. 

Finally, thought must be given to what the nature of policy implementation will be within an existing organization.  In simple terms:  it’s not enough to pass a policy, you have to get the bureaucracy to accommodate that policy, you have to be sure the policy is legally sound,  and you have to have the foresight to see how the policy will be implemented effectively to achieve its stated purpose.  To be successful all these considerations—which manifest themselves at different times— must be identified and integrated into a flexible and focused strategy at the outset.  Synchronicity Associates has the experience and the track record to assist your organization in navigating all of the roadblocks and getting you to success.

John Russo, Founder/Principal

John Russo graduated with honors from Yale University earning a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, and he received his J.D. from New York University School of Law. He is a member of the State Bars of California and Missouri.

Russo served on the Oakland City Council from 1994–2000, where he served as finance committee chair and became a leading advocate for fiscal accountability and government reform.

In 2000, he became the first elected city attorney of Oakland, California after a ballot measure changed the city attorney post from an appointed to an elected one. In that role, he created the Neighborhood Law Corps to help solve chronic urban problems in Oakland’s neighborhoods and won multiple awards in that office, which he held until his first city manager appointment in 2011. In 2003, he received the California First Amendment Coalition’s Beacon Award for leadership in promoting public access to government and going “beyond the norm to assure government transparency.” That same year, California Lawyer Magazine named Russo as “Attorney of the Year” for Government/Public Policy. The eighth annual CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) Awards for 2003 recognized City Attorney Russo for his advocacy and innovation in public law while saving taxpayer money. In 2004, the League of California Cities gave John Russo the Champion of Local Democracy Award for his work to strengthen democracy at the local level. In addition, the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) awarded the Office of the City Attorney the John Essex and Guy Rounsaville In-House Diversity Counsel Award for demonstrating superior commitment to diversity; it was the first time a public agency had received the honor in the thirteen-year history of the program. In 2005, the Neighborhood Law Corps won the Grand Prize, Helen Putnam Award for Excellence from the National League of Cities. In 2005, John Russo was voted a Northern California Super Lawyer by his peers and the independent research of the Law & Politics Magazine.

Russo served as the president of the League of California Cities from 2002–03, serving a total of nine years on the board.

From 2011 through 2020, Russo served as city manager for the cities of Alameda, Riverside, and Irvine. In all three, he quickly established practices of reform, transparency, and accountability. His major projects include the work to clear entitlements at the Alameda Naval Air Station, several major developments in downtown Riverside, including the new public library, and the deal to develop the Cheech Marin Center for Art, Culture, and Industry. In Irvine, he closed a $13-16 million budget gap, and solved a long term conflict with the city’s participation in the Orange County Fire Authority. In 2019, Russo was included on the Orange County Register list of 100 Top Influencers.

In September 2020, Russo retired from city management, and launched Synchronicity Associates. In October, 2020, Russo was bestowed. the League of California Cities Lifetime Achievement Award for “commitment to California cities, public service, and good government.”