City Finance Director Robert Samario announced his retirement Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Samario had worked for the city for the past 24 years. As Finance Director, he coordinated the development of the city’s two-year financial plans and annual budgets and provided oversight to the divisions of Treasury, Accounting, Risk Management, Purchasing, and Environmental Services. He managed a total of 47 employees and a $6 million department budget, Nina Johnson, senior assistant to the City Administrator, said in a news release.
“The City does great work on behalf of the community and I am proud to have worked with so many talented people dedicated to making the City a great place to live and visit,” Mr. Samario said in a statement. “I am looking forward to the next chapter working in the private sector providing services to local governments, which is where my career started.”
Recent reports have indicated that Mr. Samario had been on administrative leave since the fall, though city officials were unable to provide confirmation when reached by phone on Wednesday, with sources indicating it was a “personnel issue.”
“This was not relevant to my decision to retire,” Mr. Samario told the News-Press by phone Wednesday when asked if he had been placed on leave. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done for the city. It’s time for me to move on to a new challenge.”
Mr. Samario said he had been considering retirement for the past year.
City Attorney Ariel Calonne told the News-Press he had not spoken to Mr. Samario about his decision to retire and was unable to provide comment.
A recruitment process will be conducted to fill Mr. Samario’s position. Finance and Treasury Manager Jennifer Tomaszewski will serve as interim finance director while the recruitment is underway, Ms. Johnson said.
The Santa Barbara City council will meet on Tuesday for a mid-year budget hearing. The city has budget specialists who work under the finance director who are expected to play a key role in the mid-year and future hearings.
The fiscal year 2020 adopted budget includes a total operating budget of $339.9 million and a combined capital budget of $63.4 million.The council is expecting as much as a $1 million shortfall, though officials said they hope to not have to cut jobs or services in order to make up for the shortfall.