SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – Former San Francisco supervisor and mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez is returning to public service as chief attorney for the public defender’s office.

Gonzalez served as president of the Board of Supervisors and narrowly lost the 2003 race for mayor to Gavin Newsom.

READ MORE: Late Rally Fizzles, Warriors Fall to Spurs 112-107

He is now returning to the public defender’s office, where he worked as a deputy public defender from 1991 until taking office as supervisor in 2001.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced at a staff meeting Tuesday morning that Gonzalez would be taking over as chief attorney, effective immediately, spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said.

“We wanted a top trial lawyer who understands our work, has a commitment to our clients and a dedication to preserving the resources that allow our office to function,” Adachi said in a statement.

READ MORE: King Tide Flooding on SF Waterfront Foreshadows Future Climate Change Norm

He said Gonzalez’s experience in the courtroom and at City Hall makes him an excellent fit for the chief attorney position, which involves overseeing and managing all internal operations of the public defender’s office, and also participating in budget planning and negotiations.

The chief attorney is essentially second-in-command to the public defender, Barak Aparton said.

Gonzalez is replacing former Chief Attorney Teresa Caffese, who left Dec. 31 for private practice.

Since 2005, Gonzalez has worked as a partner at the law firm of Gonzalez and Leigh, where he handled both civil and criminal matters.

MORE NEWS: North Bay Organizations Unite for Holiday Toy Drive

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)