SAN FRANCISCO - Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums tapped former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission finance chief Joseph Yew to be the finance director and treasurer of California's eighth-largest city.
Yew - who replaces the outgoing Bill Noland - left the San Francisco water utility last week and began work in Oakland on Tuesday.
Yew is part of a new senior management team that Dellums has installed since the firing last year of city administrator Deborah Edgerly. The mayor also hired a new budget director and fired the city's controller.
"I am confident that the members of my new executive team are strong choices for the city," Dellums said in a statement. "These changes will help our city move forward."
Oakland officials discovered a $37 million gap in the $477 million 2008-2009 general fund budget after Edgerly was fired. Dellums fired her for allegedly interfering in a police investigation involving her nephew. He hired Dan Lindheim, a former congressional aid and World Bank economist, as Edgerly's permanent replacement last month.
Oakland closed the deficit late last year by cutting jobs and ordering mandatory furloughs for non-public safety workers. Yew and the new finance team will have to close another $50 million deficit in the upcoming budget year.
Cheryl L. Taylor is the city's new budget director. She previously held the position on an interim basis. She was most recently the finance administrator for the San Francisco Housing Authority.
Dellums, who was elected mayor in 2006, has not yet named a new controller. His office said in a news release that the city's new financial team will be working to ensure the city's "financial survival" over the next few years.
Oakland's general obligation bonds are rated A1 by Moody's Investors Service and A-plus by Fitch Ratings. Standard & Poor's rates Oakland GOs AA-minus.
Yew, a former investment banker with De La Rosa & Co., takes over a public finance operation that sold $750 million of bonds over the past decade, according to Thomson Reuters data. That does not include the city's conduit issuers and authorities.
Yew was the San Francisco PUC's finance director for two years. He was Oakland's treasury manager from 1999 to 2004.
Charles Perl, SFPUC's director of financial planning, will serve as acting finance director until a permanent replacement for Yew is chosen. Neither Perl nor the municipal utility's press office returned calls seeking comment by press time yesterday.
The utility is in the midst of a $4.4 billion bond-financed renovation of its Bay Area water-delivery infrastructure. It sold $1.5 billion of bonds over the past decade.
Perl was the budget director at the San Francisco International Airport before joining the SFPUC in September.