Press Release: City of Benicia Continues to Create Efficiencies, Announces Reorganization of Departments

The City of Benicia announces a reorganization plan to create efficiencies among departments.


In 2023, the City of Benicia announced a budget deficit of approximately 10 percent, requiring an increase in revenue and a reduction of expenses to have a balanced budget. Benicia voters passed a general sales tax measure in March of 2024 to increase revenue by $5.4 million annually, leaving $1 million of operating expenses for the city to eliminate. To provide the highest level of service possible, the city is undergoing organizational changes to create better efficiencies and help reduce the budget deficit.


The city has appointed an acting community services director to oversee the library, recreation, and family resource center. The combination of the community services and library departments provides staffing efficiencies that will allow the library to stay open seven days a week and continue to provide a similar level of services. Without the consolidation of departments, the library's operating hours would have to be reduced by one day a week to reduce operating costs.


The city is also adjusting positions in the Community Development Department by changing the community development director position to acting assistant city manager and changing the building official position to acting deputy community development director. These staffing changes will allow the city to tackle future large development projects without hiring additional staff.


The consideration for the permanent consolidation of departments and staffing changes will be reviewed by the City Council at the June 18, 2024 City Council meeting. To learn more, visit


“As a full-service city with limited revenue, we must continue to do things differently,” said Benicia City Manager Mario Giuliani. “The combining of departments and staffing changes is not intended to decrease the level of services we provide, but to continue to provide services with limited resources.”


In addition, the City Manager has appointed acting public works director, Danielle Bonham, as permanent public works director. Bonham has been serving as acting public works director since January 2024.



About Danielle Bonham, Public Works Director

In January 2023, Danielle joined the City of Benicia team as deputy public works director—utilities and has served as the interim public works director since January 2024. With over 18 years of experience in local government, Danielle has focused on utilities and public works. She has a master’s in public administration (MPA) in local and state government and a bachelor's in environmental conservation/restoration and biology. She also holds state licenses in water treatment and water distribution.


About Ann Dunleavy, Acting Community Services Director

Ann Dunleavy started her career with the City of Benicia in 1999 when she was hired as a recreation supervisor. She supervised aquatics, senior programs, youth commission, Tiny Tots Pre-school, and city special events. In 2007, she was promoted to superintendent of community services and administration where she manages both divisions and additionally oversees city special events and administration of the City Cemetery. This July, Ann will celebrate 25 years working for the Community Services Department. Ann moved to Benicia 12 years ago and is proud to live and work in this community.


About Rachel O’Shea, Acting Deputy Community Development Director

Rachel O’Shea brings more than 19 years of experience that includes the administration of building and construction codes, code enforcement, and building inspection field work. Ms. O’Shea joined the City of Benicia in 2015 as the building official within the Community Development Department. Ms. O’Shea currently provides guidance and leadership to the Building Safety Division and is the City of Benicia’s construction floodplain manager. She holds an Associate of Science degree in building technologies, International Code Council Inspection Certifications and is a California State certified Building Official and Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM). Prior to her time in the City of Benicia, she worked for the Town of Danville California as a building inspector for over 8 years, and proudly serviced building safety divisions in multiple jurisdictions through 4Leaf Inc. for serval years. Ms. O’Shea resides in Benicia with her partner, children, and many well loved animals.


About Suzanne Thorsen, Acting Assistant City Manager

Suzanne Thorsen brings more than 20 years of experience in local government planning, permitting, and administration to the position. Ms. Thorsen joined the City of Benicia in January 2014 as an Associate Planner and has held various positions within the Community Development Department since that time, moving through the ranks as Senior Planner and Planning Manager to her current role as Community Development Director which she has held since 2021. In her time with Benicia, Ms. Thorsen has taken a lead role on various initiatives, including the Industrial Park Transportation and Employment Center Plan, Eastern Gateway Study, Safety Element Update, Housing Element, and various housing, historic preservation, zoning and land use updates. During her time as Director, Ms. Thorsen has focused on completing the transition to electronic permitting, procedural and service enhancements, and improved community information. Ms. Thorsen holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management from the University of Florida, a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She maintains certification in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Prior to her time with the City of Benicia, she worked for the City of Naperville, IL and County of Marin. She resides in Benicia with her husband, children, and dog, Daisy.