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Board decides how to fill vacant leadership positions

By Victoria Metcalf

[email protected]


Application deadlines and public interview dates have been finalized to fulfill the remaining terms of elected department heads who have retired early. These actions and more concerning department head openings were taken by members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Five department head positions, including two elected positions, are now open to applicants. Due to a rash of retirements at the end of 2020, Plumas County Supervisors are now on the hunt for qualified people.

Elected positions include Plumas County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, and Plumas County Assessor. Kathy Williams held the position of county clerk for 18 years. Her experience inside the offices began in 1988.

Supervisor Greg Hagwood, citing a conflict of interest, left the board room, while remaining supervisors chose dates and times for recruitment to fill the unexpired term. Hagwood’s wife, Julie Hagwood, is temporarily fulfilling the duties of clerk according to state guidelines since she was second in command in the office. She can apply to fulfill the remainder of Williams’ term.

The deadline to submit applications is Friday, Jan. 15. Public interviews will be conducted by supervisors in their chambers at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Assessor Chuck Leonhardt’s retirement begins Tuesday, Jan. 12. Human Resources Director Nancy Selvage was directed to begin recruitment immediately for Leonhardt’s position. The recruitment deadline is Friday, Feb. 5. Public interviews are set at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Unelected positions

Due to other retirements, Human Resources is also recruiting for Environmental Health director, and clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

Willo Vieira was appointed to fill the position held by Tim Gibson as Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures.

Rob Robinette is temporarily filling the position vacated by the retirement of Jerry Sipes from Environmental Health. Newly elected Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors, Jeff Engel, asked Robinette if work in Environmental Health had slowed during the COVID-19 situation so that they could put off hiring a new director.

But Robinette said work within the department has remained fairly constant. “Our workload has not decreased,” Robinette said.

Hagwood said that waiting until spring to full the vacancy would put the department behind.

“It’s quite a large job for one person,” Robinette explained.

Selvage agreed, saying that the small department is having a large time “staying up with their workload.” Besides Sipes retirement, the department is down by another position.

Supervisors eventually voted to have Selvage recruit for the department head position. She will also be recruiting for a full-time administrative assistant position.

Museum director

Also in December, longtime Plumas County volunteer, employee and director/curator Scott Lawson retired. County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick stepped up to temporarily fill the position. Hydrick requested that supervisors consider the adoption of a resolution that amends the position allocation for the museum.

What this means is that Hydrick will fulfill the position of director, working with supervisors and the museum’s board of trustees, for the immediate future. Hydrick said the museum in Quincy is recognized throughout the state. Meeting with trustees and others, Hydrick said there are “missed opportunities” that can make the museum even stronger. Technology is just one area, Hydrick pointed out.

Hydrick said he wants a strategic plan in place for the museum. He wants to have it in place rather than bring in a museum director that is just “a warm body.” Hydrick said there are opportunities to create fundraisers, enhance work with schools, and rotate museum displays on a regular basis.

While Hydrick is proposing is to hire an assistant director at this time, an extra hire position could be eliminated. The individual, Paul Russell, who now holds that position, could move up to assistant director. He’s fulfilled that position in the past when trustees were able to fund it.

But Hagwood said it made more sense for Hydrick to use his time with the upcoming county budget and other serious county requirements. Hagwood pushed for a museum director now.

Hydrick said that it would be a year to a year-and-a-half before the museum is ready for a new director. At that time a director could be hired and the assistant director position could be eliminated.

On a four to one vote, supervisors agreed to Hydrick’s plan. Hagwood voted no.

Clerk to the board

With the retirement of longtime Clerk to the Board of Supervisors Nancy DaForno, Selvage was before supervisors for approval on changes to that position.

She said the position comes with a lot of responsibilities not only for requirements for the board, but providing support to the county administrator and the civil grand jury. Selvage suggested changes that would bring the position more in line with other counties.

For more information on any of the job openings go to the County of Plumas website for postings, visit the office on the first floor of the Plumas County Courthouse in Quincy, or call the office at (530) 283-4666.

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