Joaquin Torres has led the Office of Economic and Workforce Development since 2018. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Joaquin Torres has led the Office of Economic and Workforce Development since 2018. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Breed to appoint workforce director Joaquín Torres as Assessor-Recorder

Mayor London Breed will appoint Joaquín Torres to serve as San Francisco’s next assessor-recorder.

Since 2018, Torres has worked as the director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

The announced appointment comes a day after the Board of Supervisors confirmed Breed’s nomination of Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu as city administrator for a five-year term beginning Feb. 1.

Torres will fill the vacancy left by Chu. He will have to run in the next election, scheduled for June 2022, to continue to serve out her term.

“Joaquín Torres is a dedicated public servant who has been working tirelessly over the last year to help our city navigate this pandemic,” Breed said in announcing the appointment Wednesday. “He has been a strong leader for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and he will bring that same strength and sense of purpose to this new role.”

Torres has worked for city government for more than a decade. He previously served as the late Mayor Ed Lee’s director of the San Francisco Invest in Neighborhoods initiative and is the president of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission.

“I’m honored to assume these responsibilities essential to our economic stability and recovery and to build on the improvements of Assessor Chu to continue serving The City and county in this new role,” Torres said.

He emphasized that “local government is at its best when it understands and meets community need.”

“This requires integrity and a commitment to ongoing improvements that ensure good government services are secure, fair and accessible to all San Franciscans,” he said.

Chu, who worked as a co-chair with Torres on the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force, praised the appointment.

“He is a compassionate leader who understands the significance of the assessor’s work in supporting critical city services,” Chu said. “He will be working with a great group of people at the Assessor-Recorder’s Office and together I know they’ll continue to elevate the work we started.”

The Assessor-Recorder’s Office is in charge of identifying and assessing tax on properties in San Francisco, maintaining ownership records and collecting the real estate transfer tax, a levy on the sale of properties.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told the San Francisco Examiner, “He’s a good appointment.

“Joaquin has been effective in his role as director of OEWD, and I am sure he will do great work as Assessor-Recorder,” Mandelman said.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said Torres was “a truly fantastic public official who will work hard and successfully at any job he puts his mind to.”

But she raised concerns about a leadership transition at OEWD at a time when The City is relying on the agency to help employees and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through technical assistance and grants.

“I do worry about new leadership at OEWD during this desperate time for businesses in San Francisco,” she said.

Breed appoints the OEWD director and has yet to announce who will succeed Torres.

Chu is moving on to become city administrator since Naomi Kelly resigned from the post after federal prosecutors charged her husband, former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission head Harlan Kelly, with fraud for allegedly accepting bribes from city contractor Walter Wong.

They are among a number of city officials and contractors who have become caught up in the FBI probe into City Hall corruption. The first charges in the probe came in January 2020 against former Public Works head Mohammed Nuru and local restauranteur Nick Bovis.

jsabatini@sfexamier.com

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