Government Affairs Director
John joins Mayor Brand’s team after 25-plus years as a journalist, working at the Post-Tribune in Gary, Ind., the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Oroville Mercury-Register, before joining the Fresno Bee in 2000. He quickly became one of the state’s top political reporters, covering President George W. Bush, as well as congressional representatives, California governors and state legislators and was the Bee’s lead writer for President Barack Obama’s visit to Yosemite National Park as well as leading the coverage of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton when they brought their presidential campaigns to Fresno before the June primary in 2016.
Ellis will help the mayor determine policy and positions on local issues, supervise state and federal grant requests, and appear on behalf of Mayor Brand at community group meetings. He is married with two children. John is a graduate of Chico State University where he is a member of the journalism department’s Hall of Fame.
Annie Rini joins the office of Mayor Lee Brand with more than a decade of service to the City of Fresno. Annie began her career in 2002 as an Administrative Clerk with the Fresno Police Department where she eventually became a Senior Administrative Clerk before joining the City Manager’s office in 2006. As a representative for the newly created One Call Center, Annie was part of an ongoing effort to help make the City of Fresno more responsive to the needs of its residents. In 2015, Annie joined the team supervising FresGO, a service which allows residents to report non-emergency issues from their mobile devices, where she helped streamline internal workflows and improve customer service. Annie is also a breast cancer survivor who says she is eternally grateful for the warm and caring support that she received from the City of Fresno as well as the opportunity to work with so many dedicated City employees and leaders.