Joaquín Torres Sworn In as San Francisco's Assessor-Recorder
Torres, appointed by Mayor Breed, previously led San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and will now be responsible for the City’s property tax-related functions
San Francisco, CA — Today Mayor London N. Breed conducted the swearing-in ceremony for Joaquín Torres as the new Assessor-Recorder for the City and County of San Francisco. Torres previously served as the Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD). He is filling the vacancy left by Carmen Chu, who was sworn in as San Francisco City Administrator last week. Anne Taupier will serve as the Acting Director of OEWD as a search is undertaken for a new Director.
The Office of the Assessor-Recorder is responsible for locating all taxable property in the City, identifying ownership, establishing a taxable value, and applying all legal exemptions. The position of Assessor-Recorder is a citywide elected position and Torres will have to run in the next election, which is currently scheduled for June 2022, to complete the current term.
“I am proud to swear-in Joaquín Torres as San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder. He has been a strong leader for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and we were especially lucky to have him as we navigated the pandemic and created programs to support small businesses and workers in San Francisco,” said Mayor Breed. “Joaquín’s experience working with businesses as well as communities throughout our entire City make him well-suited for this new responsibility. I’m confident that as our Assessor-Recorder, Joaquín will help us advance the City’s economic recovery and build back San Francisco even stronger than before.”
Torres served as Director of the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development since 2018. Under his leadership, the department’s budget grew approximately 35% from $67 million to almost $92 million, constituting a substantial expansion of services for businesses and workers. During his tenure, he significantly increased support for small businesses, pioneered a community-driven departmental budget process, and firmly centered racial equity in the department’s mission and operations. Together with the Human Rights Commission, he has also helped to successfully implement Mayor Breed’s Opportunities for All initiative.
“I am honored for the confidence that San Francisco and the community is placing in me to carry forward the important work of the Assessor-Recorder. Our economic recovery will rely on the billions in annual property tax that this office helps to generate and that go into our communities to support public services from health and education, to safety and neighborhood services,” said Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres. “I’m committed to leading this organization with integrity, promoting accessibility and ensuring equitable treatment for all San Franciscans. As I look forward to joining the team at the Assessor Recorder’s office, I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the team at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for their outstanding service to workers, residents and businesses, especially this past year during COVID-19. It’s teams like these—their work ethic, commitment and extraordinary accomplishments—that make me so proud to be a public servant.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, OEWD has helped lead the City’s response by serving as a central information hub and support for businesses and workers as they grapple with the incredible uncertainty and challenges created by the pandemic. Under Torres’s leadership, OEWD has coordinated with public health officials and the business community to maximize safety and limit economic damage, led development and implementation of relief programs and policies for businesses and workers, and built a foundation for an equitable recovery. Torres has strategically marshaled the department’s staff and resources, as well as its extensive network of civic and business leaders, philanthropy and community-based organizations to drive these critical, overlapping COVID-19 relief initiatives.
Torres also serves as the President of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission, where he leads the oversight body as it works to complete the process of rehabilitating over 3,400 units of public housing with $750 million in improvements, ultimately transferring ownership to affordable housing providers to better serve low-income communities. He serves as Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) and has also served on the Executive Board of SPUR since 2019, helping to develop regional solutions to major urban challenges ranging from housing, land use and transportation to food access, climate, and governance.
“I am truly excited about Joaquin Torres’ appointment as our City Assessor. As the Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development he has been a champion for our communities before and throughout the pandemic,” said Shamann Walton, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. “Whether it be the rapid response to ensuring Family Relief and Right to Recover resources were secured and provided into the hands of families when they were most needed, ensuring businesses and workers had access to critical, real time information, or delivering direct financial relief for hundreds of our hardest hit small businesses (including minority owned), he has been a committed and resourceful leader. I know he will bring the same effective approaches and dedication to the Assessor’s Office.”
“Joaquín Torres is one of the best leaders we have in San Francisco City Government. He cares deeply about people, is reliable, trustworthy, and demands substantive and excellent work product from himself and the staff he leads,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “Although I am sad we will lose his tremendous skill focused on Economic and Workforce Development, I am excited to see how he will lead the Assessor’s Office and ensure that it continues to operate fairly and efficiently for the people of San Francisco.”
“San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder’s Office is one of the best in the state. And I believe that Mayor Breed’s choice of Joaquin Torres is a good pick to replace former Assessor Carmen Chu,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “I have high expectations that Assessor Torres will rise to the level of one of the most challenging times any assessor could face and is ready to meet those challenges.”
“Joaquín Torres is a well respected and capable City leader who is up to the challenges of Assessor-Recorder,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar. “As we move towards recovery from the pandemic facing much economic uncertainty, his steady leadership will be essential to San Francisco’s ongoing financial success.”
“On behalf of Self-Help for the Elderly, I want to convey our heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Joaquín Torres as he steps in as our city’s Assessor-Recorder,” said Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly. I’ve worked closely with Mr. Torres for many years as Director of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Services and since 2018 as Director of OEWD. He is always accessible to the community, smart, has great people skills, hard-working and committed to helping communities of color succeed. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Mr. Torres as our Assessor-Recorder. He is a great asset for our city!”
“From his earliest days working in public service for the City of San Francisco, Joaquín has always gone the extra mile for every San Franciscan,” said Bevan Dufty, Bart Board of Directors, District 9. “Joaquín’s worked hard to support neighborhoods and businesses, and he’s risen to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 in a truly remarkable way. As Assessor, I have no doubt he will remain at the forefront of building back our City, better than ever.”
Previously, Joaquín served as Director of the San Francisco Invest in Neighborhoods initiative, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services for Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and Liaison to the San Francisco Latino and American Indian communities and to Supervisorial Districts Nine and Eleven for Mayor Gavin Newsom. He is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He lives in the Outer Mission with his wife, Ruibo Qian.
The Office of the Assessor-Recorder carries out the property tax-related functions governed by the State Constitution and local laws. The Office’s core responsibility is to identify and assess the value of all taxable property in the City and County of San Francisco and apply all legal exemptions. Property tax funds public education and is the single largest revenue source supporting the City’s general operations. The office also records and maintains official records of the City, and collects transfer tax from changes in property ownership.