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An elected official is leaving politics to become Riverside County’s chief financial officer

By in Press Enterprise on July 21, 2017

By Jeff Horseman

Riverside County Treasurer-Tax Collector Don Kent is leaving elected office to become the county’s new finance officer, according to a news release issued Friday, July 21.

Riverside County Treasurer-Tax Collector Don Kent.

Kent, who starts his new job Aug. 3, will replace county Finance Officer Paul McDonnell, who is retiring. The finance chief, who is part of the executive office, is the county’s main budget guru and keeps the Board of Supervisors apprised on fiscal matters.

With Kent taking on a new role, the board is expected to appoint Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector Jon Christensen to succeed his boss. The office of treasurer-tax collector will be on the June 2018 ballot.

Kent started out as an assistant investment officer before being elected in 2008. He oversaw an $8 billion pooled investment fund during the 2008 global financial crisis with no losses to depositors, according to the county’s news release.

Kent also oversaw payment of tax bills that generate $3.5 billion in revenue and his management of investments for 11 years produced more than $1.1 billion in interest earnings. He is a lifelong Riverside County resident who worked as a licensed investment executive with PaineWebber.

Christensen has been with the county for the past 15 years, including nine as the assistant treasurer-tax collector. He previously worked as an associate vice president of investments at Morgan Stanley and as an investment executive with A.G. Edwards.

Kent’s new job pays up to $283,427 a year while the treasurer-tax collector’s maximum salary is a little more than $195,000, according to the county’s human resources database.

The change in finance officers comes as the county continues to grapple with daunting financial challenges. Revenue growth has not kept up with a series of new and ongoing expenses. The fiscal 2017-18 budget is on the Board of Supervisors agenda for Tuesday.

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