Sheriff-elect Christina Corpus set up a transition team to help her take over sheriff’s office

This story was originally published Dec. 21 in the Daily Post. On Jan. 7, Corpus was sworn into office.

By Emily Mibach
Daily Post Staff Writer

Incoming San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus has set up a “transition team” as she prepares to become the county’s sheriff next month – a move that the county manager noted is “pretty much unheard of.” At least $130,000 has been allocated for the team, according to county records obtained by the Post.

Corpus ran on a platform of being prepared to take over from current Sheriff Carlos Bolanos. When previously asked about the transition team, Corpus responded by saying “transition teams are commonly used to ensure an incoming administration can hit the ground running on day one. From keeping our community safe to enhancing trust and transparency, we have a lot of work to do.”

Follow-up questions sent via email were not returned. She declined to do a phone interview.

In an email to County Manager Mike Callagy in August, Corpus makes her case for having a four-member team, pointing out that there has not been a “true transition in over 30 years.” Corpus is taking over from Bolanos, who was initially appointed by the Board of Supervisors to his position in July 2016 after then-Sheriff Greg Munk abruptly retired citing health issues. Bolanos’ appointment process was so controversial that Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo wrote to the board urging the supervisors to pump the brakes on the appointment.

Bolanos was Munks’ undersheriff. Munks was undersheriff for Don Horsley, who is now a county supervisor but was sheriff from 1993-2007.

Sheriff’s Office is ‘in bad shape’
“It is in everyone’s best interest that a thorough and smooth transition takes place. The organization is in really bad shape right now and I am still required to run a bureau while overseeing the transition that has already presented many challenges,” Corpus wrote to Callagy.

Callagy responded that he had approved Corpus bringing on three people four months in advance, “which is pretty much unheard of.” Callagy pointed out that such a team has not been done for any of the county supervisors. “But I am committed to your success and therefore I’ve allowed it for the three-member team,” he wrote. Callagy also suggested that Corpus use some vacation time to prep for her transition.

Corpus responded that “taking time off at this juncture is not possible,” as there are vacancies in the department and she did not want to leave Millbrae “without adequate coverage.” Gascon’s spokesman part of the team

There are at least three people actively working on the team, according to documents the Post received:

• realtor Victor Aenlle;
• retired sheriff’s captain Paul Kunkel;
• Max Szabo.

For six years, Szabo was George Gascon’s spokesman while Gascon was District Attorney in San Francisco. Kunkel was Corpus’ predecessor as chief of police in Millbrae. Aenlle was on Corpus’ campaign and attended numerous events with her, including the Post’s interview with Corpus last December. All three men have submitted reimbursement requests with the county and have been actively working with Corpus. Aenlle and Szabo’s contracts are for a total of $30,000 and Kunkel’s contract is for a total of $35,000.

The County Attorney’s office also provided a contract for retired Assistant Sheriff Jeff Kearnan, but the Post received no further information that he was involved with the transition team.

Aenlle’s contract says he is tasked with advising on budget development, grants, contracts and monitoring the remodeling of the Old Maguire Jail into administrative space.

Kunkel’s contract says he is in charge of drafting a budget for the jail, reviewing contracts and making recommendations on them, and helping to find Corpus’ executive team.

Szabo’s contract largely tasks him with overseeing Corpus’ communications policies, including speech writing, dealing with the press, and assisting with crafting new policies, among other duties.

Sheriff-elect and team go to Dallas

The three, along with Corpus, attended a conference hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Dallas, Texas for a week in August. The attendee’s airfare, meals, and hotel were paid for by the county.

Outgoing Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said neither he nor Munks had transition teams. However, both were seen as anointed successors at the time. Bolanos said he’s assigned the undersheriff to be her liaison. Bolanos said his office has provided information to Corpus’ team, but was not sure about recent interactions with the incoming sheriff or her team.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Bob Jonsen, who is replacing longtime sheriff Laurie Smith, said he does not have a transition team.


  1. What? Good government? Well…Why wouldn’t you have a transition team? These are most essential workers out there and any business with a tenth of this budget would have one. Perhaps Palo Alto can use one percent of its budget surplus to fund a team for every supervisor too?

  2. Great! She was elected and mandated to bring change and accountability to the Department! A smooth and effective transition is of utmost importance in the public safety realm, especially if the departing Sheriff hasn’t been fully supportive! Looking forward to a new era for the Department. The new executive team selected our of the highest professional caliber. Both in giving support to those serving in the Department and at the same time a focus on community involvement and
    feedback! The Sheriff can be a model for the nation in setting a new standard and culture for law enforcement agencies!

  3. Agreed but why would she need a retired old cop, a politically connected PR person and a realtor to help with her transition? How about somebody who knows what’s going on? And if she’s so proud of this transition team, why did she try to keep it from the public?

    • Sheriff Corpus along with the transition “team” have been effective in recruiting and hiring two seasoned and highly respected law enforcement professionals on her executive team. The Chief of Mountain View and of Tiburon! Having them in San Mateo County assisting the Sheriff will serve us all in the County! That is of much more importance than a temporarily, minimally funded “transition team”. Bringing outside professional help to manage a Department that needs revamping! “Good old boy” network is over!

      • @CountyForward (who sounds like Christina), you say you’re bringing in “outside professional help.” But Chris Hsiung was with Mountain View police for 23 years and Ryan Monaghan worked for San Mateo Police for 26 years. Who are you trying to fool by calling them outsiders? You’re reassembling the Good Old Boy network for your own purposes. Take note the people of Fixin’ San Mateo County. You backed a “reformer” who is a liar.

  4. If she’s got the experience to do the job, why does she need a “transition team”? It’s not like she’s becoming president and has to appoint 10,000 workers. Delusions of grandeur.

  5. What expertise does Victor Aenlle offer the new sheriff? He was only briefly a deputy sheriff and now he’s a Coldwell Banker agent. Reorganizing a law enforcement agency is above his pay grade. Why is this guy involved? Why did he need to go on the trip to Dallas with the new sheriff?

  6. AI, isn’t being a Coldwell Banker agent good enough for any position in San Mateo County?
    Why would Corpus be held to a different standard?

  7. Some questions about Victor Aenlle:

    — What are his qualifications?

    — What’s the official description of his job? What’s his job title? What are his duties? How will he be evaluated?

    — Did he pass Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Entry‐Level Law Enforcement Test Battery that all officers must pass?

    — Will he become a permanent member of the sheriff’s office?

    — Was his job opening advertised?

    — If so, how did they go about deciding he should receive this job?

    — If he was hired because of his real estate experience, how will that help the sheriff’s office? Is the sheriff’s office planning to acquire property, and if so, why can’t the office go through the county administration’s real estate division like all other county agencies?

    — Or is the sheriff’s office branching out to enforce California Department of Real Estate laws? If so, who decided this? Is the DRE incapable of enforcement in San Mateo County?

    — Why did he have to travel with the sheriff-elect to Dallas last fall?

    Since he’s receiving a tax-funded salary, his job description and other information should be available to the public.

    • Dada-da-da-dada-da-da unfortunately that’s a fact, JAQ. Local Sheriff’s enforce evictions and jump when their realtors/donors bark, as do Supervisors and state electeds most of all. Even Captain Hairgel, aka Gavin took a cool million off the Realtors, who overrepresent local electeds because they want the Cadillac ( or is it Batmobile?) healthcare benefits. It may be unjust but we send men and women to die by the same system every day.

      “Or is the sheriff’s office branching out to enforce California Department of Real Estate laws? If so, who decided this? Is the DRE incapable of enforcement in San Mateo County?” – JAQ

  8. I think Behrends is misinformed or is making things up. The only thing a sheriff does involving real estate is enforce court orders, such as unlawful detainer judgments. They don’t cite people for DRE violations unless the case has already been adjudicated and there’s a valid court order.

    • Not exactly my forte, self-identified deputy, certainly you’re not stating that there is no amount of real estate fraud that would have resulted in a broker being arrested under the Bolanos reign? Because CA Dept Real Estate only handles licensure, they can’t award damages or seize assets etc. In every county including SCC Sheriff/DA does the spanking and seizures if fraud rises beyond losing licensure, but not San Mateo County?

      • Deputies rarely get real estate oriented cases except for supervising evictions. The DRE’s caseload is 99.9% civil, not criminal. If the DRE needed law enforcement agents, they’d use people in the AG’s office, not the local sheriff.

  9. Are people only now raising questions about Victor Aenlle? He is not respected inside SO and people are concerned. Do your homework,look deeper,this guy raises serious questions about her judgement.

  10. Until she screws up Corpus has the mandate of voters to clean up that department with any broom she chooses. Her predecessor wasn’t exactly Mr Clean and broke bread with a tainted realtor or two. Vague whisperings about support staff being Manchurian Rasputins will either come to be or come to be fiction, but elections have consequences and her skills at hiring executives will quickly become apparent. Good luck Sheriff, she’ll need it.

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