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City Hall Veteran Tapped for Top Financial Post

By Lookout Staff

October 26, 2023 -- A longtime City employee raised in Santa Monica will direct the Finance Department during a challenging recovery, City officials announced Thursday.

Oscar Santiago -- who has held numerous fiscal posts during his 32-year career at City Hall -- will become the City's Finance Director on December 27, said City Manager David White.
Oscar Santiago

Santiago will lead a team of 67 staff in six divisions that include Budget, Financial Operations, Procurement, Revenue and Risk Management.

He also will oversee the development of an annual citywide budget that is currently $745 million, "ensuring the continuation of public services to residents, visitors and businesses through the protection of financial resources," officials said.

Santiago will replace Gigi Decavalles-Hughes, who announced her retirement in August after overseeing the City's budget during unprecedented financial challenges ("Finance Director to Retire After Overseeing City's Most Challenging Budgets," August 22, 2023).

“Oscar brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and skill to the finance director role,” said White, who tapped Santiago for the post after the City embarked on a recruitment effort.

“His unique perspective and insights will be a tremendous benefit to Santa Monica as we continue to push full steam ahead in our economic recovery.”

During his tenure, Santiago has served as a top budget and administrative analyst for a number of departments, including Community & Cultural Services, Finance and Information Services.

Santiago has "extensive experience" in budget management, strategic financial planning and "collaborative and inclusive team leadership," officials said.

He also has led programs and initiatives that "address council and city priorities with a community-focused approach."

“I grew up in Santa Monica, and was a direct recipient of city services, so I know first-hand the kind of impact the services we provide has on an individual’s quality of life,” Santiago said in a statement.

“The stewardship of public funds is a critical component to the wellbeing of our community, a responsibility that I take seriously," he said. "I look forward to continuing to serve the community and the city organization in this new role.”

Santiago has a bachelor's degree in economics from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a master’s in public administration from California State University, Northridge.

His starting annual salary will be $223,836.

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