His former bosses are now his predecessors.
Steve Smith’s experiences working under the last few Sutter County administrators will come in handy now that he was officially named the county’s new administrative officer at last week’s board meeting.
Smith has worked in the Sutter County Administrator’s Office for the past 10 years, first as a deputy CAO in 2009 and then an assistant CAO in 2016.
He’s served as the interim administrator since former CAO Scott Mitnick resigned earlier this year.
“Over the time I’ve been with the county, I’ve gotten to work with a lot of incredibly knowledgeable people within the office and department heads throughout the county,” Smith said on Tuesday. “I learn something new, if not every day, at least every week. Government is so complex, and it can be really challenging running a government organization with a $370 million budget and 1,000 employees, and as a division of the state having to be responsive and flexible to changes that come down to us. These last 10 years have been a learning experience, and I think it will continue to be every week I’m here.”
County supervisors opted to promote from within rather than going out for a nationwide search to find a new CAO, which saves both time and money, said board Chairman Mat Conant.
Ahead of the board’s Aug. 27 meeting, Conant said supervisors were happy with Smith’s job performance to date and how he has handled a few different projects while acting as interim, including the reconstruction of Casa de Esperanza, plans for the former K-Mart building that the county bought, and the emergency homeless shelter currently being developed.
“It’s great. It was nice to receive a vote of confidence at the board meeting and to have so much support from my colleagues, peers and the community,” Smith said. “It inspires confidence and that the board trusts me to do the right thing and make solid recommendations for the county.”
One priority of his is to work with developers and surrounding jurisdictions on the massive Sutter Point Development project planned for south Sutter County, which encompasses approximately 7,528 acres of land and will have everything from new homes, parks and schools to employment centers and retail shopping villages. Smith said developers could break ground on residential units as early as next spring.
Another priority is to see through the reconstruction project of the former K-Mart building on Gray Avenue that the county bought a few years ago, which will be the future home of Health and Human Services. He said the county will be making a decision in the coming months about how to finance the project.
Other priorities include addressing the county’s financial needs when it comes to funding its fire department operations; opening and operating the new emergency homeless shelter behind the Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health building in Yuba City; and developing leadership internally to prepare employees with the tools necessary to carry out county operations well into the future.
“Lastly, we will look to maximize our great partnerships with other local jurisdictions and continue working together to do our best for the community,” Smith said. “Those partnerships are strong right now, so I look forward to continuing to develop those partnerships.”
Smith’s contract with the county is for three years and will see him make an annual salary of $215,000, in addition to benefits for health, dental, vision and life insurance.