Bill Fujioka, who as Los Angeles' city administrative officer has served as a key financial advisor to three mayors and the City Council since 1999, said Wednesday that he would step down from his post in December.
Fujioka, 54, a single father and 31-year veteran of city and county government, said he was retiring from public service but might consider consulting or other private sector work. He said he is leaving his $246,000-a-year city job for personal and family reasons.
"I have total support on the council, and I have total support and an exceptional relationship with the mayor," Fujioka said of Antonio Villaraigosa, whom he considers "a brother," someone who appreciates the "independent, accurate information" on city finances provided by his office.
Along with the key role he has played in advising city officials, Fujioka is also known for his successful battle to keep his job after then-Mayor Richard Riordan tried to fire him in 2000.
Riordan, who elevated Fujioka to his current position seven years ago, later felt that Fujioka was too close to council members and sought to put the chief financial advisory duties into the hands of an official who would report directly to the mayor's office.
Fujioka prevailed, however, after council members rallied to his side.
He later served James K. Hahn and Villaraigosa, who issued a statement Wednesday that Fujioka "has been a tremendous asset to the city of Los Angeles. He has been a steady hand with unparalleled knowledge and understanding of our fiscal and management challenges."
A spokesman for Villaraigosa, Matt Szabo, said the mayor has not decided on a successor to Fujioka.
Fujioka, who lives with his 15-year-old son, Jason, in Temple City, was born in East Los Angeles and grew up in Montebello. He earned a bachelor's degree in social research from UC Santa Cruz.
Most of his career, 19 years, was in county government, where he was best known for engineering a turnaround at High Desert Hospital in Lancaster. He returned to city government nearly a decade ago to head the personnel department before being promoted to city administrative officer.