Santa Barbara County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, bottom right, speaks during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
Santa Barbara County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, bottom right, speaks during a November Board of Supervisors meeting. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato has been given additional authority to remove appointed department heads without approval of the Board of Supervisors and assign assistant CEOs to directly supervise department directors.

The five elected members of the Board of Supervisors said Tuesday that the administrative code change is a vote of confidence in Miyasato, who has been CEO since 2013, and that the position’s additional authority ends with her.

“I think the message is CEO Miyasato is in charge, the board stands behind her, and we hope the department heads hear that message,” Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann said.

“This is a vote of trust in the leadership style and skills of Mona Miyasato, not the CEO position,” Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said. “My vote on this is because Mona’s sitting there.”

The supervisors voted unanimously to approve the administrative code changes.

As described in the Human Resources Department staff report, the changes will “provide the CEO with maximum flexibility in managing county operations.”

Specifically: “The recommended actions revise the Santa Barbara County Code as follows: authorizes the County Executive Officer (CEO) to designate supervision/etc. of appointed department heads to designated assistant county executive officers (ACEOs); clarifies the performance evaluation process for appointed department heads; provides that the Board may reevaluate this authority at the time of appointment of a new CEO; and strikes the requirement for the CEO to obtain Board approval to remove any appointed department head. The Board will continue to approve the hiring of any appointed department head.”

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.