Supervisors to discuss recruitment process, seek public input for County Adminstrator Twa’s replacement

Executive search firm hired, draft recruitment brochure created

By Allen Payton

David Twa. Photo by CCC.

During their special meeting on Tuesday, July 14, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will discuss the recruitment process to replace retiring County Administrator David Twa, as well as the opportunity for public input into desirable qualifications for the ideal candidate. That’s in spite of the fact a draft recruitment brochure for the position from the recruiting firm Peckham & McKenney Executive Search, included with the meeting agenda, already describes “The Ideal Candidate,” as follows:

“You will be a well-rounded visionary leader with a strong business sense, financial acumen, and the ability to manage a large, complex organization using best practices culled from government and business environments. You must be politically astute, yet apolitical and will have an outgoing style with a professional presence. You will be naturally engaging, diplomatic, and decisive. You will also be a gifted consensus and team builder, will exercise emotional intelligence in the practice of leadership, will be committed to developing staff to their greatest potential, and will be adept in long range planning for the organization. Additionally, in today’s times, you must be a confident and courageous leader who displays sound judgment, excellent communication and people skills, strong character and uncompromising integrity. You will also have an awareness of and respect for cultural diversity, be effective and responsive in politically and ethnically diverse environments and accomplished at maintaining cooperative relations with diverse communities. Polarizing politics, changing demographic trends, increased reliance on technology and social media, and serious economic volatility are some of the current issues that you and the County will face in the next few years. Overriding these issues is the County’s desire to continue working through the current pandemic via best practices that both protect the residents and the economy, as well as addressing race and ethnicity issues in one of the most diverse counties in the state. You will work with the Board of Supervisors to identify disparities that exist in justice, health, social services and land use and will oversee strategies to reduce those disparities.”

According to the brochure, the annual salary for the position is currently $381,000. However, the salary for Twa’s replacement will be determined based on the experience and qualifications that person brings to the county.

The administrator oversees 25 different departments within the county government divided into service areas such as: Public Protection, General Government, Health and Human Services, Growth Management, Special Districts and other Authorities. There are also a number of Affiliated Organizations the County participates with or directly manages. Contra Costa County is one of the few counties in the Nation to offer a full spectrum of health-related services under one organizational structure including the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and its health centers.

The confirmed recruitment process schedule is as follows:

Resume filing deadline – September 22, 2020

Preliminary interviews – September 23-October 9, 2020

Recommendation of Candidates – October 13, 2020

Interview Process – First Round: week of October 26, 2020

Interview Process – Second Round: week of November 2, 2020

When reached for comment Board of Supervisors Chair Candace Andersen said, “David Twa has been hinting he’s ready to retire for the past six months. On June 2nd when we did his annual evaluation during the closed session, at that point he did say, ‘I am going to leave…here are a couple recruitment firms the county has used in the past.’”

“He’s been making it known to community groups and that he wants to return to Minnesota,” she shared.

“Under agenda item C65 of our meeting on June 16th, we did go ahead and hire the recruiting firm,” Andersen continued. “There was a desire by (Supervisor) John Gioia who wants to make this a very public process. The county administrator and county counsel hiring process is not usually a public process, with candidates who don’t get hired not wanting to be known. You want to have the confidentiality.”

“So, we’ve come forward with the brochure and asking for public input,” she stated. “This is the draft of the brochure, so if someone comes up with a desired qualification that makes sense, we can add that to it.”

“We’re hoping by late fall to hire someone, and have an overlap to work with David,” Andersen shared. “We’re really focusing our recruitment on California rather than a national search…ideally someone who has a background in California law.”

“We’re not being secretive about it. Once we have the recruiting brochure finalized, then we’ll issue a public announcement,” Andersen added. “It’s an interesting, challenging time to bring on a new administrator.”

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. and can be viewed live on Comcast Cable 27, ATT/U-Verse Channel 99, and WAVE Channel 32, and can be seen live online at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

Those who wish to address the board during public comment or with respect to any item that is on the agenda may call in during the meeting by dialing 888-251-2949 followed by the access code 1672589#. To indicate you wish to speak on an agenda item, please push “#2” on your phone.

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