City of Palo Alto logoThe City of Palo Alto announced yesterday the city manager’s selection of Lauren Lai, as the City’s new director of administrative services/chief financial officer, subject to City Council confirmation. Lai is a certified public accountant and has over 25 years of financial experience, notably serving as finance director with four California communities, most recently with Milpitas and Monterey.

“Following a competitive recruitment, I am pleased to announce the selection of our next chief financial officer,” said Ed Shikada, Palo Alto’s city manager. “Lauren’s extensive experience in municipal finance and leadership helping local government agencies focus on effective and innovative services and budget management through collaboration will further Palo Alto’s financial stewardship into the future.”

The administrative services director/chief financial officer (CFO) oversees the financial administrative services for the City of Palo Alto. The department includes the divisions of Finance (accounting, treasury and debt management, purchasing and warehousing and printing and mailing services); Real Estate (acquisition, disposition, lease management and easements); and Budget and Financial Planning (budgeting, capital planning, long-range planning, management analysis and strategic planning).

“This is an amazing opportunity, and I am excited to join a stellar team supporting all financial aspects of Palo Alto’s service delivery,” said Lauren Lai, Palo Alto’s chief financial officer. “I look forward to advancing the City Council priorities and collaborating with City Departments and engaging with the Palo Alto community, partners and strategic stakeholders.”

Lai holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from San Jose State University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a certificate in public accountancy (CPA). Lai has over 25 years of financial experience in local government and private sector, notably serving as the finance director in four cities in California, including Milpitas, Monterey, Marina and Capitola. Private sector leadership roles included audit, financial reporting and analysis and project management functions at Arthur Anderson & Co. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Lai is a member of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) where she was co-chair of the Monterey chapter for four years, and a member of several other financial and government/municipal leadership groups such as the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and Municipal Management Association of Northern California.

On a personal note, Lai loves to surf, listen to science and leadership podcasts, garden and travel with her partner Stephen and his two sons and two playful dogs.

City Council consideration of the city manager’s selection of the new administrative services director/CFO is set for February 26. Lai will start in her new role with Palo Alto on March 11, and her annual salary will be $275,000.