SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz County Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello, who is California’s longest-serving county executive, announced her retirement Tuesday.
Mauriello’s retirement is effective on July 7.
Mauriello became the second female county administrative officer in the state when she was appointed to the position in the weeks following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, helping to guide the county through post-earthquake recovery.
Since then, Mauriello has shaped Santa Cruz County into a model for other counties through her deep reservoirs of knowledge and native New York verve, said Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin.
“I consider it an honor and privilege to serve the people of Santa Cruz County,” Mauriello said. “Public service is one of the highest callings as we strive to make our community a better place for all residents, but the time is right for me to move on to the next phase.”
During her tenure, the county’s budget grew from less than $200 million to more than $700 million. The number of county parks and recreation spaces nearly tripled, and the county became a leader in the field of criminal justice reform and health and human services programs.
Mauriello has served 24 board members, and oversees a staff of more than 2,000 that delivers a variety of services to county residents.
“It has been an honor working with Susan, both when I was a State representative and now as a board member,” Board of Supervisors Chair Bruce McPherson said. “Over time, she has demonstrated the highest levels of knowledge, compassion, effectiveness and integrity in serving the people of Santa Cruz County, and her accomplishments would fill a book. She is well-recognized as a highly effective statewide advocate for counties, and she will be greatly missed.”
Many of the county’s public facilities bear Mauriello’s influence, including the Public Safety Center, Simpkins Family Swim Center, Animal Services Center, Behavioral Health Center and the Live Oak Library. She also helped with the reuse of the old County Jail, which is now the Museum of Art and History.
Construction of a new Rountree Detention Facility and renovation of Juvenile Hall are both underway, focused on programs to reduce recidivism and improve chances for successful reentry.
Under Mauriello’s leadership, the county improved the business climate with numerous neighborhood and commercial developments, such as those on the Soquel Corridor and Upper 41st Avenue.
"Susan has been an extraordinary leader, seeing the county through many changes at the State and national levels,” Vice Chair John Leopold said. “She has helped us weather numerous local natural disasters and she built a wonderful set of public facilities. Susan Mauriello has left us with a strong foundation to carry us into the future.”
Mauriello also helped the county address the challenges posed by changes at the state level, including budget cuts, the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, the expansion of health care programs under the Affordable Care Act and changes under AB 109 realignment and other public safety reforms.
Mauriello served as a mentor to new county CAOs and was part of the County Administrative Officers Association of California, which recently honored Mauriello with a Distinguished Service Award at a ceremony in Palm Springs.
Terry Schutten, executive director of the County Administrative Officers Association of California, called Mauriello “one of the best administrators in the state.”
“Her in-depth knowledge of State and local issues is profound, she is a tireless advocate for county government and her retirement will leave a significant void in county leadership across California,” Schutten said.
Mauriello received just over $270,000 per year, and benefits totaling more than $65,000 in 2015, according to Transparent California.
Hoppin said that the county will begin a recruitment process to find her replacement.
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