Stanislaus County leaders named Stan Risen as chief executive officer Friday, the second time in two years the top post was filled by an in-house promotion.
Risen, 57, has served as interim county CEO since former Chief Executive Officer Monica Nino started work in August as administrator for San Joaquin County. Nino, who resigned in July, held the job for 20 months.
County leaders voted unanimously to promote Risen after considering two other finalists described as high-level executives from counties in the San Joaquin Valley. The appointment officially takes effect today.
Officials will negotiate whats expected to be a three-year employment contract with the new CEO. The agreement, including salary and benefits, will be considered by supervisors at their Dec. 3 meeting, County Counsel John Doering said.
I am very excited about the opportunity and appreciate the confidence the board has placed in my appointment to this position, Risen said. We have a great staff and Im confident we can meet the challenges facing our organization.
Supervisor Terry Withrow called Risen a true professional. I have been really impressed with him. He is very sincere. We are looking forward to him doing great things for us, Withrow said.
The new CEO began his career with Stanislaus County in 1987 as an appraiser and became a senior management consultant in the chief executive office in 1999. Promoted to assistant executive officer in 2005, Risen was given oversight responsibility for numerous county departments such as the auditor-controller, Sheriffs Department, district attorney, and community and economic development.
He has also been responsible for preparing all aspects of the countys yearly budget. He has represented the county in negotiations over the waste-to-energy contract with Covanta Energy and traffic mitigation for Gregori High School.
Withrow said hes impressed with Risens negotiating skills, especially his ability to see both sides of an argument and work for an amicable solution.
Risen also has experience as an elected official. He served on the Ceres City Council from 1990 to 2001.
Each county employee and our entire community will benefit from Stans values and integrity as he leads the county towards its vision, board Chairman Vito Chiesa said in a news release. We are very fortunate to have someone of Stans caliber and experience.
The county said this week that most of the 24 candidates who applied during the open recruitment were from California.
Risen takes over management of a county government with almost 4,000 employees and an annual budget of slightly more than $1billion. The county is working on major jail construction projects and has started to wrestle with what some say is a groundwater crisis.
In the coming months, the CEO will be kept busy with union negotiations as contracts with all 12 labor groups expire June 30. Risen said the expiration dates resulted from the county seeking concessions from unions during the economic slump. We hope to get back to more staggered years for labor contracts, he said.
Risen also noted the county needs a new long-term agreement with Doctors Medical Center in 2017 spelling out terms of providing care for indigent patients.
Patty Hill Thomas, the countys chief operations officer, said Risen has extensive knowledge of finance, budgeting, land use and criminal justice due to his previous oversight duties. She described Risen as highly ethical and accountable and a team player.
A résumé released by county human resources does not show Risens work experience before 1987, the year the county hired him as an appraiser.
Risen is a from an Air Force family and earned a bachelors degree from Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. After moving to Stanislaus County, Risen took courses in accounting and computer literacy at Modesto Junior College and has taken coursework in performance-based budgeting from the University of Vermont.
He has been a team leader on mission trips to Mexico with the First Baptist Church of Modesto, now CrossPoint Community Church; served on the advisory board for the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children; and worked on the Whitmore Mansion restoration committee.
He and his wife, Cheryl, have four grown children, who are married, and two grandchildren.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209)578-2321.