Finance Director OK’d by Council

The City Council has given a unanimous thumbs-up to the hiring of Paul Chung as San Marino’s finance director, giving the municipality’s money department a full-time boss for the first time in nearly a year.
Chung, currently a principal treasury analyst for Santa Monica, will start in San Marino on Nov. 25. It will mark the first time he has been a department head, although City Manager Marcella Marlowe said that throughout his career at larger city operations, he has managed a similar number of employees as he will here.
“As you know, we have very strong accounting capability in our department right now,” Marlowe added on Friday, when Chung’s hiring was approved at a council meeting. “I think bringing Paul aboard would be a good complement to that.”
Marlowe explained that Chung distinguished himself during interviews by the depth of his familiarity with San Marino’s fiscal history and outlook, as well as the direction the council has steered the city in recent years.
“It really is no understatement to say that he gave one of the best interviews I have seen in my career,” she said. “He had researched the city. He knew what our situation was. He understood what we were doing and understood what we were working on. The amount of research and homework he did, no one else even got close, and he was asked very pointedly, ‘Why are you wanting to come here? There are many other opportunities.’ He did not apply for any of those other opportunities. This was the place he wanted to come. This is where he thought he could make a difference.”
Chung will take over from part-timer Irwin Bornstein, who took over as interim finance director at the start of this year to assist the city in its budgeting process. The previous director, Josh Betta, resigned last December as part of a settlement of an unspecified dispute with the city. Betta received a payout that came from the city’s insurance authority, not from its own funding.
“As you know, it has been quite some time since we’ve had a permanent finance director on staff, and although we have done our masterful best in trying to hold things together, we definitely need to get somebody on board,” Marlowe said.
Asked how she planned to prepare Chung for his new role as a department head, Marlowe said she had already scheduled several meetings with him to outline expectations and procedure and also put him in touch with other area finance directors to receive some mentoring. Marlowe and Chung, it transpires, both worked for Calabasas in the past, with an overlap of about two years.
“I think he’s got the experience to run something our size and, with proper oversight by the city manager, that he’ll have no problem working in the management position,” Councilman Steve Talt said, shortly before the hiring vote.

Leave a Reply