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Monday, December 10 , 2018, 9:22 pm | Fair 53º


County’s Search Continues for New Chief Executive Officer

Board of Supervisors has begun interviewing for a replacement for CEO Michael Brown, who is expected to retire in October

Santa Barbara County is still searching for a candidate to fill the position of top boss — county chief executive officer.

The Board of Supervisors met Monday for an all-day, closed-session meeting, conducting interviews of prospective candidates to fill the position to be vacated by CEO Michael Brown, who has been in the position since 1996. Brown is expected to retire in October.

Board clerk Michael Allen said no reportable action had been taken at Monday’s meeting, and it’s unclear when the item will go back before the supervisors for more discussion.

Jeri Muth, the county’s assistant director of human resources, told Noozhawk that recruitment for the position has been closed, but that she couldn’t reveal, for confidentiality reasons, how many candidates were being vetted.

The job description for Brown’s position won’t change much when a new prospect is selected, Muth said. The ordinance in the Santa Barbara County Code that provides for a CEO was last amended by supervisors in March, when they voted 3-2 to change Brown’s authority to hire and fire. Department directors still report to Brown on new hires, but final authority must come from the county supervisors.

Earlier this year, the county hired a recruiter to conduct an executive search, Muth said. The salary range for the position is $232,000 to $240,000 annually, which is a step up from the $228,000 Brown earns. Muth said the increase is necessary to attract the best people.

“You don’t do that unless you’re trying to attract the right candidates for the job. You don’t want to pay anyone more than you have to,” said Muth, adding that’s why the county conducts a survey. “Frequently, when we open recruitment, we survey the market.”

She said it’s important to keep context in mind when looking at the seemingly large salary number, and Brown’s pay rate rests at near the bottom.

Muth sent Noozhawk a list of 30 other California CEO salaries, and Brown’s ranks fifth from last. The city of Santa Maria claims that honor with $202,032 as an annual salary. The county at the top of the list was Los Angeles County, whose CEO is paid $424,272.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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