Stage is her ticket to high profile job



In her office, City Treasurer Laura Parisi keeps a photo of herself wearing a borrowed prop from

Laura Parisi, the Laguna Beach treasurer
Laura Parisi, the Laguna Beach treasurer

the most recent production of “Lagunatics,” a musical parody where city officials are routinely skewered.

In the image, she looks poised and at ease, wearing a sweet yet supercilious expression, and a colorful police car jumpsuit made of cardboard. The license plate read “No. 1 pig,” which had been worn by the retiring police chief. Both had roles in the show.

For Parisi, the photo is a talisman from her own self-improvement plan.

“I needed to address my own apprehension. That’s why I took the path I did in areas that are so not me,” said Parisi, who until recently took pains to avoid the spotlight.

Who knew casting in“Lagunatics” was preparation for a leadership role in a statewide professional group?

Last week, Parisi was appointed legislative chair of the California Municipal Treasurers Association. She will be responsible for monitoring proposed legislation affecting municipal treasurers.

By virtue of that position, she will also be a member of the revenue and taxation committee in the League of California Cities, a lobbying group for the state’s 473 cities. Her term as CMTA legislative chair begins Dec. 1. She succeeds Anaheim’s retiring Charlene Parker. The term is subject to renewal in April and is at the discretion of the incoming president.

“She has shown leadership and an incredibly broad knowledge that has contributed to the overall success of CMTA,” said the association’s president, Bill Gallardo of Brea. He appointed Parisi late last week.

She had already served as vice chair of the division, organizing educational meetings for the county’s municipal treasurers, including an upcoming winter luncheon with the county assessor.

Her responsibilities as CMTA legislative chair will include educating treasurers in various municipalities, including cities, water and health districts, throughout the state on how new laws affect their ability to invest.

“I am most looking forward to staying current on legislative changes and having a voice in the analysis of those changes,” Parisi said.

Gallardo said Parisi’s 25 years of experience as a certified public accountant also made her an attractive candidate for the position of legislative chair.

She began her career at Price, Waterhouse, Cooper in Chicago. Later, after moving to California, Parisi began work at W.R. Grace and Co. as a senior analyst. Eventually, she would become chief financial officer and vice president of a Grace division.

“She has experience dealing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and she’s comfortable reading laws and technical materials,” Gallardo said.

Parisi, who is elected to office, has been Laguna Beach’s treasurer for more than five years. Since the position is part time, it permits Parisi to have afternoons free for her children David, 15, and Alexandra, 13.

Now that they are a little older, Parisi said, she feels more comfortable with the occasional business trip. “As long as they’re chaperoned,” she emphasized. “It might be good for them.”

She’s happy she can set a good example of giving back to the community.

“CMTA is a good organization dedicated to the education of treasurers,” Parisi said.

Thinking of her kids, she added, “You’re never too old for education.”


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