Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday ended months of speculation when he appointed District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu to serve as assessor-recorder.
Chu, a former budget analyst who was first appointed to the Board of Supervisors in September 2007, will be sworn in by March 4, Lee said.
“It comes as no surprise that I chose Carmen,” said Lee, whose choice of Chu was an open secret at City Hall for several months. “She’s fiscally smart, and brilliant.”
Chu succeeds Zoon Nguyen, who was appointed acting assessor-recorder after Phil Ting was elected to the state Assembly and left The City for Sacramento in December. Both that office and the District 4 supervisorial post have in recent years been held by Chinese-American politicians.
The assessor-recorder is responsible for one of The City’s chief revenue streams: property taxes. Property taxes accounted for 35 percent of The City’s revenue in the last budget cycle, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Providing The City’s myriad services requires “a firm financial footing, if we want to get out of that cycle of cuts,” said Chu, adding that poring over accounting and finances may be boring to some, but “I’ve always been interested in that.”
Chu’s reputation rests on that interest. For the past two years, she served as chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee while representing residents of the Sunset district.
During her time on the board, Chu was seen as a fiscally minded manager and staunch mayoral ally with moderate to conservative political leanings. She is popular with constituents in her district, which has a significant population of Chinese-American residents, and for her work in rebuilding neighborhood libraries and a recreation center. Chu also was active on commuter issues in the light-rail-reliant district. And instead of using money made available for a third legislative aide — a staffer taken on by most of her colleagues — Chu spent it on neighborhood parks.
She won election in 2008 and 2010 after former Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed her to replace Ed Jew, who resigned amid a residency and extortion scandal.
As a lawmaker, Chu had a low profile, writing laws to close loopholes that allowed brothels to masquerade as massage parlors and restricting the overnight parking of RVs. She also organized community opposition to a medical marijuana dispensary on Taraval Street.
Chu will earn $173,732 a year in her new job and oversee a staff of 165.
She will continue to serve as supervisor until her successor is named.