By Debra Moore
Plumas County might have a new county administrative officer (CAO) after a months-long search to replace Gabriel Hydrick, who left his role as a county administrator in Plumas to be the CAO for Tehama County.
The Plumas Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the appointment of Butte County Supervisor Debra Lucero during the Sept. 6 board meeting. If she is appointed, Lucero will begin working full-time in the county on Nov. 1.
A press release that was released to the Chico Enterprise Record seemed to indicate that Lucero already had the position, but when Plumas News asked for comment from Plumas supervisors, they were caught off guard.
District 1 Supervisor Greg Hagwood said that he was surprised by the press release. “This is the first I heard of it,” he said this afternoon when asked about her appointment. Hagwood said that the board had interviewed Lucero and were impressed by her, but he wanted to ensure that an extensive background check was completed before he could vote for the appointment.
“Until I see a comprehensive and extensive background investigation and the results thereof, I’m not comfortable making an appointment until that information has been made available to the board,” Hagwood said. “A CAO for Plumas County needs to go through an in-depth investigation the likes of which law enforcement (deputies and dispatchers) do. Given the increased salary and responsibilities that the CAO has, this must be done.”
A little about Lucero
Lucero was elected to the Butte County Board of Supervisors in June 2018, but was not elected to a subsequent term, following a runoff in June 2022.
“While I was disappointed with the outcome of the race, it gave me an opportunity to rethink how I wanted to be involved with county government,” Lucero said. “I made a great effort to learn the complex county system over a 20-year period working in tourism and economic development and wanted to put my hard-earned knowledge to work. Plumas is a perfect fit and a beautiful county that I have visited often and look forward to exploring.”
Lucero sits on two state arts boards and is the Butte County representative to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) where she is Vice President of the Latino Caucus. She is also the Butte County representative for the National Association of Counties (NACo) where she has been:
Chair, Resilient Counties Advisory Board
Vice Chair, Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee
Vice Chair, Arts and Culture Commission
Vice Chair, Rural Action Caucus (RAC)
In addition to her county position, she also consults and manages an arts agency and a public access television station in Chico, both of which she founded. Lucero is described as having “a rare combination of business, nonprofit, and government experience.”
Lucero also has eight-plus years as an award-winning journalist and editor, as well as a “tour of duty” in Washington, D.C. as an information specialist for an Hispanic advocacy group. Her extensive grant writing background has enabled her to augment educational programs, festivals and events throughout her career. She has worked with young adults to develop specialized internship programs in public relations, marketing, video, television production, and event and festival production.
Lucero is married and the mother of three adult children.