Jim Arkens takes job in Sutter County
It’s been less than two years since Jim Arkens was promoted to the position of Mono County Administrative Officer (CAO), but as of Feb. 3 he will officially step down. According to the Appeal Democrat he will head to Sutter County to take the reins as CAO there.
Arkens said his only comment would be his resignation letter (see below). The letter, however, gives no indication as to why someone who seemed to be putting down roots in Mono County would instead be following in the footsteps of about a dozen other County employees and department heads.
When asked last April during an interview with The Sheet if he planned to stick around Mono County, Arkens said that would be up to the Board.
“I enjoy what I’m doing,” Arkens had said. “I have excellent staff, and the year has gone by really fast.” Arkens had purchased a home in Bridgeport and held a housewarming party in September.
Many have speculated that it was the election of the new Board of Supervisors last June that changed Arkens’ perspective.
“I know he had anxiety over the new board,” said Mono County Supervisor and new Board Chair Byng Hunt. “I had hoped he would stick around for a few months to see how things played out.” Hunt added that Arkens’s decision to leave had surprised the Board, which now consists of Hunt, Larry Johnston, Tim Alpers, Tim Fesko and Fred Stump.
New Supervisor Tim Alpers, however, said he had been hearing rumors of a departure.
“I had heard rumors, but paid no attention,” Alpers wrote via email. “I found out via this news clip [written by the Appeal Democrat, Sutter County’s newspaper]. Yes, it appears that we will be on the hunt for a CAO as well as a financial officer.”
Still others have specifically pointed a finger at Supervisor Larry Johnston as the reason not only Arkens is leaving, but why many other department heads and County employees have left in the past year as well.
“I have no qualms about people leaving on their own accord for any reason,” Johnston said when asked about the finger pointing. “If they disagree with my positions, I can’t stop them from leaving. I ran my campaign on efficient and frugal government, and that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s unfortunate that what’s happening in the economy hasn’t sunk in for some people.”
The new Board will be busy in the coming months looking to hire new employees not only to fill Arkens CAO position, but the Human Resources Director position he also held. The Board is at the beginning stages of setting up interviews for the Finance Director position as well. The County’s Finance Director Brian Muir took a job in Shasta County at the end of last year.
Arkens started as Mono County Human Resources Director in 2010 and was appointed as Interim CAO on May 3, 2011 after former CAO Dave Wilbrecht took the job as Mammoth Lakes Town Manager. Arkens became the permanent CAO one month later, and continued to wear the HR Director hat as well. He had also been acting as the Public Works Director.
Jim Arkens’ resignation letter
January 9, 2013
To the Honorable Mono County Board of Supervisors:
I wish to inform the Board that this is to be considered my official resignation as County Administrative Officer for Mono County. I want to thank those on the Board that have supported me. I especially want to thank former Chair Vikki Bauer, Chair Byng Hunt, and former Supervisor Hazard for their assistance and help during the past 22 months.
It has been an extremely difficult decision to leave the Bridgeport community and all of Mono County. I have enjoyed working with some extremely hardworking individuals. Through all the hard work and efforts we have managed to balance the budget, improve customer service, while accomplishing many goals.
It has been my pleasure to serve along side of some excellent managers and staff. I want to especially thank Pam MacBride, Brian Muir, Julie Tiede, Rita Sherman, Lynda Salcido, Nancy Boardman, Lynda Roberts, Marshall Rudolph and all those who have made my tenure a memorable one.
I wish the incoming Board of Supervisors the best of luck and I stand ready to assist them before my departure on February 3rd.
James M. Arkens
Mono County CAO