Coming out of closed session Tuesday morning, the Mono County Board of Supervisors announced that Jim Arkens, who had been serving as Interim County Administrative Officer, will take over as permanent CAO. Arkens, 58, who succeeds Dave Wilbrecht, was previously the County’s Human Resources Director.
Wilbrecht accepted a new position as Mammoth Lakes Town Manager in April and has since assumed full-time duties in the post. Arkens will reportedly see no change in salary, at least for the remainder of the current fiscal year. He has been serving as the Interim CAO since May 3, and will serve as both CAO and HR Director for now.
Former CAO Dave Wilbrecht commented to The Sheet that he thinks Arkens is a good choice for the job. Arkens, he said, has the right background and skills, and knows the County and the needs of the Board.
He went on to indicate that Arkens’ background in labor and associated negotiations could be a big plus to the County, especially when it comes to managing costs and other budget challenges the Board will be dealing with in the not-too-distant future.
His credentials include more than 30 years combined experience in government and administrative positions. Arkens’ Human Resources background includes service at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, New Mexico, where he was HR Director. He has also served as a CAO and HR Director for Shawano County, Wisc. Prior to that, he worked for Wisconsin’s Taylor County Regional Planning Commission as HR and Maintenance Manager, and served for 22 years on the City of Menominee, Mich. City Council as both a Council Member and its President.
In the private sector, he spent 21 years employed by Scott Paper/Kimberly-Clark as HR Manager and Safety and Fire Protection Union President.
“I’m honored by the faith that the Mono County Board of Supervisors has expressed in me in naming me the County Administrative Officer,” Arkens told The Sheet. “I will continue to provide Mono County with the necessary leadership as its administrative officer.”
As to the recession, with which Mono County is still struggling, Arkens didn’t seem daunted. “Economic times are extremely difficult and budgets are always a major challenge,” he observed. “I will do my best to work with all the departments to present a balanced budget to the Board of Supervisors. I look forward to what lies ahead, and working to provide the best possible services to the residents of Mono County.”
Arkens holds both a BA and MBA in Business Administration.