Assessor Carmen Chu was approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to serve for five years as the city administrator.
Chu was nominated for the post by Mayor London Breed and received praise from supervisors before they unanimously voted to confirm the nomination. Chu will start the job on Feb. 1, and Breed will appoint someone else to serve as assessor until the next election.
“It is a huge responsibility, one that I am eager to take on, in addition to all of the work that the City Administrator’s Office is currently doing to support the pandemic efforts,” Chu told the board prior to the vote.
The city administrator oversees 25 city departments, including Public Works, Real Estate, Capital Planning and the Medical Examiner’s Office, and is considered the most powerful non-elected official in city government. The office also oversees information technology infrastructure, city contracting and real estate for government offices.
Chu began working in city government in 2005. She served as Mayor Gavin Newsom’s director of public policy and finance, before he appointed her as District 4 supervisor. She was later elected to the seat. The late Mayor Ed Lee appointed Chu as assessor in 2013.
Chu was nominated for the job following Naomi Kelly’s resignation 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. The Kellys are among a number of city officials and contractors who have become caught up in the FBI probe into City Hall corruption.
Supervisor Gordon Mar noted that the appointment fills “one of many vacancies at the senior levels of local government because of the depth and breadth of the culture of corruption and malfeasance that has gone unaddressed for far too long.”