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‘People’ the best part of being administrative officer

Plumas County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick has learned a lot in the first 10 months on a new job. He’s a self-proclaimed people person and that’s what pushes him to work even harder. Photo by Victoria Metcalf

He’s a photographer, an artist, is fluent in Spanish, holds a master’s degree and is a family man — emphasis on the latter.

That sums up some of what makes Gabriel Hydrick who he is today.

On Feb. 4, 2020, he will celebrate his first anniversary as the Plumas County Administrator.

It’s a job that hasn’t been all roses. He’s progressing along a steep learning curve. And he’s already run afoul of what at least one supervisor expected on one recent issue.

Hydrick is learning that losing sleep, pondering issues and planning, planning and always planning are just part of the job he signed up to do.

And despite all of this, he said he loves the job. He’s here to stay. This is where he purchased a home with acreage and where he wants to finish raising his five children.

It’s also where his wife Jill decided to go to college — at Feather River College. And Hydrick said she loves it.

Adjusting to a rural life hasn’t been a problem. He originates from South Lake Tahoe. Despite his travels, experiences, college and other jobs, Hydrick said it has been very much a case of taking the boy out of the country, but he was never able to take the country out of the boy. “I’m probably happier here than in South Lake Tahoe,” he prophesized. “It’s exactly what I want as a father to raise my kids here and that’s my number one priority, and Plumas County offered us what we want including outdoor activities.”

More recently, Hydrick comes from Lincoln where he served as a city council member for eight years, ran a landscaping business, and helped form the first charter school system in that area.

“This is a natural fit for me,” Hydrick said about why he applied for the job of administrative officer. “I’ve always been community oriented and service oriented,” he explained recently.

Hydrick said he’s always been interested in community government. He sees himself as a problem solver. “I like helping people solve problems,” he explained.

In some ways he sees situations as starting with a blank canvas and then helping people work through the process that meets the needs of the people and the situation. With the county position, it’s a matter of working with social issues and then the fiscal issues. “It’s a good fit.”

Considering his first 10 months on the job as county administrator, Hydrick said, “I think my feet are still a little above the ground.”

In the spring, just a short few months after Hydrick was hired as county administrator, he said he attended an administrators’ meeting. One of the attendees said he believed it took three years for someone to get his feet on the ground. “I thought, ‘Good, I don’t have to be so hard on myself.’”

So looking back, Hydrick said that after nine months on the job he was getting a better grasp of the dynamics of the county. Each supervisorial district is quite different, he’s learned. And in some cases the differences include the people who live in each district.

But as a self-professed people-person, Hydrick believes that’s what helps make his job so interesting.

“People and human nature interest me,” he said. “That relationship is on display in the communities and that relationship just fascinates me.”

People are what make communities what they are, he believes. The volunteers and the business people who take the risks all contribute where they can, he added. “It’s something I find fascinating.”

As Hydrick considers his relatively new job, he can’t help but also think of his family. His five children range in ages from 5 to 16.

With his background in the formation efforts with a charter school in Lincoln, one might think Hydrick had enrolled his children at the Plumas Charter School. But no, he said. The youngest is too young for school, he believes. Another child is home-schooled, two are in charter school and one is in the high school.

Discussing his own education, Hydrick said he started college in San Luis Obispo at Questa. It’s a stepping-stone to entering Cal Poly. But then life took a turn and Hydrick ended up doing a mission for his church in Puerto Rico. That’s where his Spanish language ability blossomed.

When Hydrick returned to the United States, he said he attended college in southeastern Idaho and then went on to Colorado to finish his bachelor’s degree. He did his master’s in public administration online.

Considering his last months on the job as county administrator, Hydrick said he would like to thank all of the Plumas County residents for making the county what it is. “This has been a dream come true for myself to have this position as a county administrator” and to help resolve issues and face issues, he said.

“I hope we’re here for a very long time and am looking forward to working” with more people.

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