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Santa Rosa finance chief takes Bay Area job

Santa Rosa's top finance official is leaving to accept a similar post in Daly City, the city's third high-profile departure announced in recent weeks.

Chief Finance Officer Lawrence Chiu says he's making the change to be closer to family in the Bay Area. Chiu lives in the East Bay, but for the past two years has worked in Santa Rosa during the week and returned home on weekends.

Chiu joined the city in 2011 and has been praised for working hard to solve some of the city's budget challenges.

"Mr. Chiu and the entire Finance Department staff have worked very hard to stabilize and contribute to significant improvements to the overall financial condition of the City," Millison said. "For that I am very appreciative."

Chiu said he is proudest of being able to restructure some of the city's bonds to create long-term savings. When he arrived the reserves of the city's General Fund stood at 10 percent. Next week Chiu plans to tell the City Council that the reserve level had rebounded to about 15 percent, which is the council's target, he said.

Millison said she would announce an acting director within two weeks and begin recruiting a new CFO immediately thereafter.

Before coming to Santa Rosa, Chiu spent six years as Concord's financial operations manager. He made just over $163,000 last year, and had a total compensation package worth $201,548. He is the city's fourth finance director since 2009. His last day is Jan. 3.

In addition to Chiu's departure, the city is losing Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm, who is retiring Dec. 20, and Fire Chief Mark McCormick, who is retiring Dec. 27.

Another key finance official, budget manager Jean Gill, is set to retire at the end of December, Chiu said.

(You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater)


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