Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

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Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires
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Robert Samario (top left) pictured with Santa Barbara City Department Heads [Photo: City of Santa Barbara]

By edhat staff

The City of Santa Barbara Finance Director, Robert Samario, has announced retirement after 24 years.

Samario was appointed Finance Director in July 2010 and served as the City’s Assistant Finance Director for more than 14 years. 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 47 employees and a $6 million department budget. 

Bob Samario (Photo: City of Santa Barbara)

“It has been an honor and pleasure to work for the City of Santa Barbara for the last 24 years,” said Samario. “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. I am looking forward to the next chapter working in the private sector providing services to local governments, which is where my career started.”

Samario has been out of the office since November after allegedly being placed on leave due to an investigation, according to reports from Noozhawk.

At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nina Johnson, Senior Assistant to the City Administrator, sent a press release announcing Samario's retirement. There was no mention of his long absence. Before Wednesday, the City had not commented other than stating it is a "personnel matter."

A recruitment process will be conducted to fill the executive position. Finance and Treasury Manager Jennifer Tomaszewski will serve as Interim Finance Director while the recruitment is underway.

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a-1582857441 Feb 27, 2020 06:37 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

This must be what Cathy Murillo means when she claims to support "working families": Samario's wife clocks in for $138, 394 a year in city tax payer cash, making this "working family" total almost a half million dollars a year - thanks to local taxpayers. Certainly good enough for government work as they as they say. i can see why Murillo shows them her love. Their contracts are obvously fairly bargained and publicly disclosed for so no contest here, but somehow it just does not seem right. I like capitalism when producers get to keep what they earn; but nearly a half million dollars a tax payer cash going out each year to a local "working family", I just don't know. Reminder again, if you can't afford to live in Santa Barbraa, you have picked the wrong line of work and the wrong employer. Work for the government.

PitMix Feb 27, 2020 12:11 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

If something wrong occurred, and they don't follow through with any punishment because they want it all to go away, he will be allowed to seek consultant work with the City and double dip with his retirement and his consulting pay. I hope they follow through if it is warranted to prevent this.

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 09:25 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

If I go further, I'm going to call City and ask where the minutes are. I am not going to wade through the results I got from searching the city site for finance committee minutes. Feel free to check it out. ;-)

ChillinGrillin Feb 26, 2020 09:18 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

This situation reeks of corruption. I have about had it with how incompetent and backwards local government and the Sheriff Dept. are. We pay far too much and the people here are too nice to stand by and see them get swindled by a pack of incompetent and crooked fools. Before anyone gets all tribal with the stupid politics, I'm a lifelong Democrat by the way.

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 09:16 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

I'm still at -------------
"Finance Committee agendas are part of the Council Agenda Packet and are included in the City Council agenda posted online. After the meeting, Finance Committee agendas can be found linked from this page. --------------------------------------------------------
Samario attended 10/15/19 and 11/12/19. And 12/10/19. AND Jan. 28, 2020. PROVE IT. He was listed on the frigging agenda; why do I have to work hard to find the meeting minutes?! -----------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm not about to watch videos, I'm reporting what I saw when I clicked on the "Agenda" button at website. Why isn't there simply a "Minutes" button? How can I know he was present from an Agenda post, a representation of the future, rather than a Minutes post, a legal representation of what occurred? Said as someone who took minutes for the local arm of a huge national non-profit. I'll again say I Hate government web sites; they're the hardest to find stuff at!

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 09:05 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

took me about 15 seconds to get here, I searched "santa barbara city finance dept": ----------------------------------------------------------
Yeah, I'm kind of joking. ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Let's google same but "committee minutes: -------------------------------------------------- Immediate result, of course. But I want MINUTES, written record. Must continue searach. I DETEST government sites for this reason; they are SO frigging opaque.

a-1582819748 Feb 27, 2020 08:09 AM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

What's up with the dashes? They're hard on the eyes and doing nothing for your formatting. Remember back in the good ol days when you could use html for formatting comments? Ahh, nostalgia.

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 08:54 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

But any citizen or group; any watchdog who REALLY cared would've known months ago that Samario wasn't present. We would only have to review committee minutes, not even attend. So don't act so high and mighty unless you're involved in oversight. We have a duty to participate, in order to know enough to participate and make changes. I get the outrage. I just want to add that oversight and participation is necessary. Same in federal government. I'm currently very concerned about how few Inspector General positions are filled. It all takes a heck of a lot of work, and I don't expect most people to be able or willing to do it. I'm not.

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 09:19 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

Direct your complaints to the SB City Council and SB City government department heads. Try to make an impact. Don't just complain on Edhat! As great as this site can be, this is not its purpose.

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 08:41 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

Yeah. His absence was news for the first time Monday, Feb. 24, and now they announce his retirement. I respect personnel and legal privacy, as a citizen and ex-legal worker, but as a citizen and tax payer this also enrages me.
We need to know if malfeasance was /is an issue!

a-1582770305 Feb 26, 2020 06:25 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

The City is again pulling the major wool over the eyes of all the voters in the city. How about the two jail employees that were drawing HUGE salaries for TWO YEARS while "on leave, " and now they are having the hammer dropped on them! The city runs and sets the example for the SBPD & SBSO like how they WAIT FOREVER to get it done. Boo!

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 08:58 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

The City of SB is also following state and national personnel law and avoiding a big lawsuit against them. No, I can't cite specific laws without research, but they apply to and protect us also. I don't want my local government bringing liability upon themselves and by extension, us citizens. But big media is always a good bet, as they have great investigative resources! Pro Publica. LA Times. NY Times. Washington Post. San Francisco Chronicle. And their online outlets.

yin yang Feb 26, 2020 08:47 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

In the interest of our national policy, or myth, of innocent until proven guilty, I still support that policy/myth. It's just that only the rich and/or connected seem to benefit from it... I supported it when I worked to prosecute those in power and I support it now, because the alternative is worse. Just as I do not support the death penalty, because one wrongful death is too many, and America has already had more than one. There are times when absolutism is the best position to hold.
(I don't support freeing capital cases until they've been re-analyzed and re-tried. But death cannot be re-tried.)

a-1582761919 Feb 26, 2020 04:05 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

Correction: City Finance Director Samario cost taxpayers $280,00 a year in 2018; lifetime pension will be based on his final year compensation formula and time in service: Robert Samario
Finance Dir (2018)
Regular pay: $198,715.85
Overtime pay: $0.00
Other pay: $28,324.32
Total pay: $227,040.17
Benefits: $16,401.56
Pension debt: $36,687.02
Total pay & benefits: $280,128.75

CoastWatch Feb 26, 2020 02:36 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

If it was a personnel issue, the City of SB can not speak of it.(period) If there was a crime committed, the City , City Attorney and possibly the D.A. must have transparency and lay it on the table....

a-1582750584 Feb 26, 2020 12:56 PM
Santa Barbara City Finance Director Retires

Hey City of SB! Why haven't you given a reason as to why this $200k/year employee was on leave since November? And now you're putting out a press release that he's RETIRING like it's no big deal even when he's quoted to say he's not retiring, just going back to the private sector? Something is afoot here.

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