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First 5 Executive Director Leaves For OEM Recovery, Community Engagement Job

Ben Romo Click to view larger
Ben Romo

First 5 Santa Barbara County Executive Director Ben Romo has resigned to take a job serving as a liaison between residents, nonprofits and the county's Office of Emergency Management for recovery efforts following the Thomas Fire and Montecito’s Jan. 9 debris flows, First 5 announced Tuesday.

Romo, who served as the county agency’s executive director for five years, will be the management recovery and community engagement coordinator for OEM, a one-year special assignment.

“I’m inspired by this work, and I’m thankful to have this opportunity to do this full-time,” Romo said. “The county wants to be aligned in terms of recovery coordination and engaging the community.”

Wendy Sims-Moten, First 5’s business manager, has been appointed to serve as interim executive director while the First 5’s commission selects permanent leadership, according to Katie Torres, the communications specialist at First 5 Santa Barbara County.

Torres said Sims-Moten has overseen First 5’s fiscal systems and accountability, operations, human resources and organizational and staff development. 

“We are sad to see Ben go, but we are so pleased he will be playing an important role in the County’s critical leadership of recovery efforts after recent disasters,” First 5 Commission Chair Anna Kokotovic said in a statement.

First 5 is funded by Proposition 10 and partners with organizations throughout the county to support the health, early learning and well-being needs of children prenatal to age 5 and their families.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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