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San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu Tapped as New City Administrator

  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed nominated Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu to replace Naomi Kelly, who resigned earlier this week amid a corruption probe, as City Administrator

  • The City Administrator is San Francisco's highest unelected position, overseeing more than 25 departments and programs spanning a wide variety of functions

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday nominated Carmen Chu, now the City's Assessor-Recorder, to the City Administrator position following the resignation of Naomi Kelly.

Chu is a longtime public official in San Francisco, having served on the Board of Supervisors before her appointment to the Assessor-Recorder position in 2013 by former Mayor Ed Lee. As City Administrator -- San Francisco's most influential unelected position -- Chu will oversee more than 25 departments and programs spanning a wide range of public services.

“The work of the City Administrator is big – it serves as the backbone for our entire City’s operations. I look forward to serving the people of San Francisco in this new role,” said Chu, who currently leads San Francisco's Economic Recovery Task Force in addition to serving as Assessor-Recorder. Chu also serves on the board of the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System.

Chu's nomination closely follows the resignation of former City Administrator Naomi Kelly amid a continuing corruption probe. Although Kelly has not been charged with a crime and admitted no wrongdoing, she resigned on Tuesday in light of recent allegations against her husband, former San Francisco Public Utilities head Harlan Kelly, who was arrested on federal bribery charges last year.

Naomi Kelly is the latest high-ranking public official to resign as part of the sweeping federal corruption probe in San Francisco. The Kellys, former Department of Public Works head Mohammed Nuru, and former head of the Department of Building Inspection Tom Hui, among others, have all resigned in the past year.

As a press conference on Thursday, Breed touted Chu's experience in enhancing efficiency, and organization at the Assessor-Recorder's office as a necessary skill in steering San Francisco through its fiscal crisis.

"To make San Francisco work in a more efficient way, that provides information to the public in a way people can understand...the work [Carmen has] done has been about making sure the average everyday citizen in SF, who's not connected to or involved with City Hall, can have a voice," said Breed.

Asked how she can help address the alleged corruption that took place across several San Francisco departments, Chu said that boosting transparency is a priority.

"One of the things that all of us will be doing is looking very, very closely at ensuring that we have transparency in how we deliver public services and how we run our organization," Chu said.

Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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