As of February 5th, Mono County government will have lost three top management people. The Finance Director recently relocated, the County Administrator will go to a job in Sutter County and Director of Facilities and Risk Management, Rita Sherman, will retire.
Mono Supervisors will interview applicants for Finance Director in February, and they thought they would hire an Interim CAO this week, but learned at their meeting Tuesday that the applicant changed his mind.
County Counsel Marshall Rudolph had prepared an employment agreement for Marlin Koester, retired Ventura County Administrator, which laid out terms of employment as Interim CAO and would have paid him over $81,000 for a four-month term. The Supervisors were set to vote on a resolution approving that agreement. Then, they learned Koester was out. Mr. Koester notified the County that for personal reasons he had decided not to accept the position.
Now, the Board will hold a special closed session meeting next Tuesday to discuss this situation further. With fewer than ten days before Arkens’ departure, board members are pressed to come up with an answer for management leadership. They had only learned two weeks ago that Arkens would take the job as CAO in Sutter County when news reports were published in that area.
In addition to the departures of Arkens and Finance Director Brian Muir, Director of Facilities and Risk Management, Rita Sherman, announced she would retire. CAO Arkens confirmed that Sherman would retire on February 5th.
As for the Interim CAO position, Supervisor Chair Byng Hunt said, “Our strategy is to begin by appointing an as yet undetermined current employee to act very short term as an interim-interim while we contact a pool of retired CAO talent and hire an interim person to help us in the final search for a final appointment.”
Contacted about the lack of an Interim CAO, Supervisor Tim Alpers also said that the Board would look in-house for someone to fill in for a couple of weeks while the Board looks for another Interim CAO. He said the process to hire a new permanent CAO could take two or three months.
Asked if the Board would still assign numerous tasks to the new County Administrator, Supervisor Larry Johnston said, “We’re a small County and the trend is for government people to cover more than one function.” He said the Board would examine its options.
Supervisor Chair Hunt also said that he thinks the results of the whole process “will, in the end, be very beneficial to our County.”