SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mayor London Breed announced Thursday morning that San Francisco Recorder-Assessor Carmen Chu was nominated to become the new San Francisco city administrator.
Chu replaces longtime City Administrator Naomi Kelly, who informed Breed she’d be leaving her post on Feb. 1 in the wake of a corruption scandal centering around her husband, former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission chief Harlan Kelly. Kelly went on family leave back in December.
In online press conference Thursday, Breed praised Chu, who’s worked for the city since 2005. She noted that under Chu, the city’s Assessor-Recorder’s office reversed a decades-old backlog of assessment cases, “while generating over $3.6 billion in property tax revenue annually to support public services in San Francisco.”
“There is no public servant more respected, who has more integrity, who just basically is one of the most incredible, admirable persons that we have serve in the City and County of San Francisco than Carmen Chu,” Breed said.
The office of City Administrator is responsible for a long list of city departments, including animal care and control, public works and the office of cannabis.
“Many of the things that make the city run and oftentimes we may have an interaction with any of these departments and not necessarily be fully aware that they are all within the scope of the City Administrator’s office. It is a major responsibility,” Breed said.
During a question and answer period of the press conference, a reporter asked Breed about Kelly’s resignation and connection to the corruption probe, which she declined to answer, citing the issue as a personnel matter. But Chu says that under her leadership, the office will develop ways to prevent further corruption.
“One of the things that all of us will be doing is we looking very, very closely to make sure that we have the systems in place to ensure that there is transparency in how we’re delivering our public service and it is how we run our organization,” Chu said.
Harlan Kelly currently faces federal wire fraud charges. The investigation into his office already netted several city officials suspected of accepting bribes in exchange for lucrative city contract bids.
In her resignation letter, Kelly stated her reason for leaving was the corruption investigation, which she said was “based on the false statements of an admitted liar.” The probe stemmed from the arrest of former San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, who resigned in February of 2020 and was charged with fraud after he allegedly attempted to bribe an airport commissioner.