Fiona Ma, CPA, California State Treasurer

“John Russo has earned a sterling reputation as one of California’s most seasoned and talented local government executives. He’s an innovative and collaborative policymaker who also understands how finance works in both the public and private sectors. His experiences as an elected official means he understands how things actually get done politically.”

Melissa Fox, (former) Councilmember, City of Irvine (2016 – 2020)

“When we hired John as our City Manager, Irvine had a structural budget shortfall of between 12 and 16 million dollars. The Mayor and City Council directed him to fix the problem; within a year he had streamlined the budget process, eliminated the shortfall with no drop in constituent service, put millions away in reserves, and personally negotiated amicable, long-term contracts with all of our employee associations. John knows how to get difficult things done.”

Christina Shea, (former) Mayor, City of Irvine (1996-2000, 2019-2020)

Irvine struggled for decades with Orange County Fire Authority over the complex terms of our partnership. When he became city manager, John swiftly negotiated an amicable solution to the dispute that protected both the safety and security of our city.”

Paul Granillo, President & CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership

“It’s not common to find a public executive who understands both what businesses, both large and small, need —AND how local government bureaucracies can be made more efficient yet protect the public interest. John is that rare leader who sees problems and conflicts with empathy for all stakeholders and understands how to promote solutions that work for all involved.”

Bryan Starr, President & CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce

“John Russo is a visionary leader that has made great contributions to Irvine and Orange County. He has been effective in good times and challenging situations alike. I am grateful for his partnership with the business community and have learned a great deal from his diverse expertise.” 

Shawn Stark, (retired) Director of Affiliate Campaigns, California Professional Firefighters

“I’ve known John since he won his first election to Oakland’s City Council back in 1994, and I have seen pretty much his entire career. It has been fascinating to watch him work and excel in several different roles — City Councilmember, City Attorney, City Manager, and President of the League of California Cities. He has always been dedicated to good and intelligently run local government.  John is one of the few city officials who are as respected by labor as they are by business groups. That is because John is direct, pragmatic, and really understands how government works and how to overcome obstacles that stop it from being effective.