STANISLAUS COUNTY — Stanislaus County leaders voted in closed session Tuesday to appoint an internal candidate, Don Gaekle, to serve as interim assessor.
Gaekle, one of two assistant assessors, will manage the department after Assessor Dave Cogdill Sr. leaves to become chief executive officer of the California Building Industry Association. Cogdill resigned last month, and his last day with the county is Friday.
Cogdill managed the assessors office after running unopposed for the elected position in 2010. Though his term was set to run through 2014, Cogdill has said he couldnt pass up the leadership job with the building industry group. The county office with 54 employees and a $5.5 million budget values residential, commercial and industrial property.
County Counsel John Doering said two qualified internal candidates were considered for the interim job, and Gaekle was chosen for his experience with the department. He started work in the assessors office in 1986.
Board Chairman Vito Chiesa said the interim manager will be paid the current assessors salary of $148,300 a year, plus benefits. The permanent position comes up for election in June.
Also at Tuesdays meeting, the board unanimously approved a request for $40million in jail construction funding for a proposed facility focused on vocational and rehabilitation programs.
Chiesa said the county has been late to the game in providing programs for people behind bars and historically outdid other counties in sending people convicted of crimes to state prison.
Now that the state has made counties responsible for lower-level criminal offenders, funding is available for building more county jail bed space. Stanislaus will seek $40 million from a statewide pot of $500 million.
The facility to provide transitional jail housing with up to 288 beds is proposed at the Hackett Road complex, where the Public Safety Center already shares the site with a newly built 192-bed lockup, which replaced the Honor Farm, and a planned $89.5 million expansion with up to 552 beds.
Sheriff Adam Christianson said when the expansion projects are completed, the county potentially could close the dilapidated downtown jail. The proposed re-entry center would be for inmates in transition from incarceration to release into the community. Programs are intended to help them overcome addiction and violent behavior and teach them skills so they can succeed on the outside.
Supervisor Terry Withrow continued to express concern about the costs of operating the jails. The only estimate on running the expanded facilities is $10million a year just for sworn personnel.
Christianson said seeking the $40million was a leap of faith, but staff members are working on a funding plan for jail operations.
The state is expected to conditionally award funding to counties in January.
Chiesa said the state will expect the county to show results from the rehabilitation programs.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)578-2321.