County Board of Supervisors to consider appointing new treasurer

RIVERSIDE – The Board of Supervisors will decide today whether to appoint a 15-year Riverside County employee to serve as treasurer-tax collector to fill the vacancy left following the resignation of tax chief Don Kent, who will be taking over next month as the county’s chief financial officer.

Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector Jon Christensen has been selected by board Vice Chairman Chuck Washington to receive the appointment.

“He brings the knowledge and long-term experience required for this vital position and will undoubtedly provide a smooth and seamless transition, while maintaining the continuity of leadership and stability necessary to preserve the financial strength of the county,” Washington said in a message posted to the board’s policy agenda.

Christensen has been in his current post for nine years, prior to which he held another administrative job within the office. Before signing on with the county, the Riverside-area native worked as an investment adviser in the private sector.

The appointment would be effective for the time remaining in Kent’s term, which expires December 2018. The next treasurer election is in June.

Kent, 48, will begin his duties as CFO on Aug. 2, advising the board on budgetary matters concerning all departments. The move comes as current CFO Paul McDonnell bids the county adieu for the last time, leaving Aug. 1.

Kent is following his former boss for the second time in his career with the switch. When McDonnell stepped down as treasurer in the fall of 2008 to serve as CFO, then-Assistant Treasurer Kent was appointed by the board to fill the vacancy. He was ultimately elected to the seat.

McDonnell, 66, informed the board several months ago that he intended to retire.

Kent has spent 20 years in the Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector, landing a management position there after working in investor relations for PaineWebber Inc.

During his tenure, he shepherded the county’s $8 billion investment pool through the Great Recession, staving off losses in spite of the pool’s exposure to government bonds of all durations.

The pool, which serves as the repository for revenues collected not only to meet the county’s obligations, but also those of special districts, school districts and community colleges, reached record-high valuations under Kent’s watch.

McDonnell served as CFO between November 2008 and December 2009, then left for a job in the private sector, but returned to serve as CFO once again in the summer of 2015. He was the county’s chief tax authority between 1998 and 2008.

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