Some administrators make a living talking about when they’ll be talking about doing something about something.
Others discuss how to do something and then actually do it. It seems like Sutter County’s new administrator, Steve Smith, falls in the latter group.
Smith gained a lot of practical and local knowledge and experience the last several years, working under other Sutter County administrators. Now he’s the county’s official new administrative officer, sworn in to the position last week. Smith had worked in the office for 10 years, joining the team in 2009 as deputy county administrative officer. He was promoted to assistant county administrator in early 2016 and was named interim administrator earlier this year, when the former CAO quit.
One nice thing about Smith is that he doesn’t think he already knows everything. He said in a story we printed earlier in the week that he’s pretty sure he’ll be learning something new every week on the job.
The governmental entity he’s running has a $370 million budget and a thousand employees and is responsible to the constituents in thousands of ways. We find it encouraging that he acknowledges he’ll likely not run out of new things to learn.
Mat Conant, Sutter Board of Supervisors chairman, said they were happy with his job performance and how he’s handled a few projects while acting as interim chief – including the repair work on the Casa de Esperanza building, which had gone begging for a few years. He’s also reportedly taking the K-Mart building project in hand (the county acquired the empty discount store building a few years ago to convert into office space and consolidate, but hadn’t yet made any real headway). And the resolution to a long-time back-burner issue that was much talked about, homeless sheltering, is finally moving ahead with something real and meaningful.
Hiring Smith, Conant said, saves time and money on a nationwide search.
It’s sometimes good to bring in new blood. It’s sometimes good to promote from within. This promotion makes good sense to us. What Sutter County needs is someone at the helm who knows the local culture, who has been connected to the community for a decade or so, who knows lots of local people and county officials, and is motivated not only by a salary, but by getting things done that benefit his neighbors. Someone who realizes that some things have been talked about long enough.
It might very well sound parochial ... but he’s one of us. Here’s hoping that really accounts for something; and good luck to him.