Santa Clara County Demoting Chief Financial Officer Vinod Sharma

UPDATE: Sources within the county have told San Jose Inside that Vinod Sharma will be officially removed from his current position as chief financial officer in two weeks. Sharma will be reassigned to a position in the Valley medical Center Health and Hospitals System while county administrators work to create new accounting positions. During the 2013-14 budget process, the county allocated money to create these new positions but did not establish official titles. The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve these new positions at its first meeting in September. Sources tell San Jose Inside that Sharma’s salary will be “significantly lower.”

Vinod Sharma, head of the finance agency that oversees Santa Clara County’s $4.6 billion budget, is on his way out as chief financial officer, San Jose Inside has learned.

Sources within the county say Sharma, who received sharp criticism for his poor oversight and conflicting statements regarding former county Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr.’s misuse of public funds, will be reassigned to an accounting position with Valley Medical Center’s Health and Hospitals System. The change in position, which is “effective immediately,” according to sources, is seen as a demotion several steps down the county food chain.

Emily Harrison, a deputy county executive, will take over the CFO role in an interim basis as an open recruitment process is started. Harrison was considered a strong candidate for the CFO position before Sharma assumed the job full time in November 2010, but she declined to apply for the job. Sources say she has little interest in assuming control over the county’s budget on a permanent basis.

While the county is expected to spin the finance agency’s change in leadership as simply placing Sharma in a position that more closely meets his skill set, the reassignment is clearly a demotion. Sources tell San Jose Inside that Sharma’s inability to properly explain why Shirakawa was able to misuse his county P-Card for lavish dinners and vacations for several years without detection was only part of the reason for the CFO’s reassignment.

Bill Perrone, a former county auditor, told San Jose Inside/Metro that Sharma instructed him to stop his staff from doing inspections of county P-Cards, because the CFO wanted to impress superiors with more “Harvey Rose-type audits,” alluding to the auditing firm that is credited with producing large cost savings through its findings. Sharma, who repeatedly blamed subordinates for the oversight in a public hearing earlier this year, denied Perrone’s claims.

Sharma’s top assistant, Controller-Treasurer Irene Lui, will retain her role for the time being, but her position could be re-evaluated with Harrison now serving as her boss.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. Does anyone get fired? His butt would have been out the door if he worked in the private sector. Instead, he gets a demotion. Was his salary/benefits even re-adjusted to reflect the new position?

    • Sharma should be fired because he was ultimately responsible for POOR Internal Controls that were deminishing, he consistently reduced the size of Internal Audit, never encouraged audit overview and duality of processing for the protection of ALL staff, yet, Sharma blamed EVERYONE else, as usual.  He is one of the best examples of the “Peter Principle” I have ever seen.  Sharma was selected by County Executive Jeff Smith, who also selected the former Registrar of Voters.

  2. Thank you Josh, for your diligence. Nothing at all would have been done if not for you. Irene Lui should be next. Then, whoever promoted them clearly past their abilities or ethics.

  3. What I want to know, is, what about Reeds, and Yeagers, tons of money that was payed back?
    Does any one have the lock on these two guys?
    These guys are squicky clean? Why?
    Blanca’s millions, where did all that money go?
      The merc ran scared.
    We need some answers! Herhold never wrote about Blanca, nor did JOE RODRIGUEZ.


  4. This clown didn’t do his job, with his eyes wide open. He should be terminated, but instead he’s sitting pretty, sucking his fat salary and continuing to build his bloated pension. Pathetic.

  5. I am fairly certain that Vinod must have signed documents mandating his automatic reporting of suspected fraud.  Why is he not being prosecuted with King George?