By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker announced today his decision to retire from San Bernardino County. Walker stated, “With mixed emotions and strong feelings, I have decided that now is the time to retire. This has been a difficult decision, arrived at over many months of thoughtful and prayerful consideration. I cannot single out a specific factor or a major reason – I have simply decided that, for my family, for the County, and for me, this is the right time to go.”
“I have been honored to serve the citizens of our county for almost thirty years, starting as a County Supervisor from 1986 to 1998, and then as Auditor-Controller from 1998 to now. I am proud of my accomplishments, but more than that, I am thankful. I thank the voters for their trust and confidence in electing me eight times for County service. I am grateful to my staff, who accomplished so much over the years. And I want to express my appreciation to every Board of Supervisors I have had the pleasure of working with, along with all County employees, whose efforts are so important in the lives of those we serve.
“The last thirty years have presented many challenges and opportunities. As a County Supervisor, I am happy to have participated in building the 71 and 210 Freeways, along with many other transportation improvements. I count it a privilege to have served for a decade on the original Metrolink Board of Directors, and to have led the effort to get that regional system running. I can see the benefit arising from many of my land use planning policies as I enjoy driving through Chino Hills. And I am gratified that we were able to preserve close to $30 million worth of agricultural open space in the former Dairy Preserve by careful management of the $20 million grant from Proposition 70, along with the income generated from those lands.
“As Auditor-Controller, I initiated the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline, which has generated information about inappropriate actions involving the County that might not otherwise have been exposed. Our Department continued its previous tradition of earning the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) award for producing an outstanding Comprehensive Annual Financial Report with 17 annual awards during my tenure. We also initiated a Popular (condensed) Annual Financial Report, which has won 10 such awards in the last 11 years from GFOA.
“We conducted significant internal audits, some of which led to recovery of over-payments, and we paid the County’s bills and payroll efficiently and on-time. Having initiated the Audit Committee of Metrolink’s Board of Directors a few years earlier, it was appropriate to establish the Auditor-Controller’s Audit Committee to enhance communication between my office, the Board of Supervisors, the County Administrative Office, and the public about our audit efforts.
“During my twelve years as County Recorder, we built a new system to record documents and store them safely in perpetuity for the benefit of our citizens, and of the land ownership system in this county. I was also a partner in the original effort to create the California Electronic Recording Transactions Network Authority (CeRTNA), a statewide network which has enabled title companies and others to record documents electronically in participating counties all over the state.
“I was both complimented and challenged when the Board of Supervisors asked me to take on the duties of Treasurer and Tax Collector. In the six years since that assignment, we have maintained the AAA rating of our Treasurer’s Investment Pool, and continued to manage the County’s banking and cash handling with safety as our top priority. We have also made significant improvement in our systems for online payment of property taxes and online sale of tax-defaulted properties, which have saved tax dollars and improved service to constituents. As a member of the Retirement Board, I have been a leader in the effort to restore the system to sound financial status, and have been called upon twice to lead the organization during vacancies in the CEO position.”
All in all, it has been an incredible adventure for a young man who, in 1979, thought to himself why would I want to be a County Supervisor? “I have served to the best of my ability, and I have been blessed with a wife and three sons who, in additional to being tremendous persons in their own right, have been wonderfully supportive of my service. I am also deeply indebted to those who have served along with me. It has truly been a team effort.”
This team effort has at no time been more apparent than in the current management structure of the office of Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector. One of the hallmarks of great management leadership is solid succession planning. “I am confident that this current team is the best management team this office has had in my 17 years as Auditor-Controller. While it is difficult to leave, I do so knowing that the success of this office, and its continuing value to the County, is provided for in the great organization and leaders that I leave behind.”
Larry Walker was first elected in March 1978 to the Chino City Council. He became Mayor of Chino two years later, when he became the third elected mayor in Chino’s history in 1980. He was re-elected in 1984, and served until he was sworn in as County Supervisor on December 1, 1986.
While on the city council, Walker worked with State Senator Ruben Ayala and Assemblyman Bill McVittie to obtain passage of the legislation that granted a long-term lease of forty acres for the first phase of what became Ruben S. Ayala Park in Chino, and a second bill that provided a one million dollar state contribution to storm drain facilities adjacent to the California Institution for Men (CIM), which enabled the city to widen Central Avenue in the vicinity of Ayala Park.
As Mayor of Chino, Walker championed the acquisition of land for parks, including what became Liberty Park, Heritage Park, Walnut Park, and others. He was a leader in increasing funding for the Chino Police Department, and advocated for planning and financing of storm drain and other infrastructure, which has since provided a foundation for commercial and industrial development.
The East Chino Specific Plan was developed and initially adopted during Walker’s tenure as Mayor of Chino, and he was a part of the first meetings and negotiations that led to Majestic Spectrum commercial development in the city.