Paul McIntosh is the Executive Director of the California State Association of Counties. For more, visit The County Voice.

A pioneering and longtime California County Administrator, George Gaekle, passed away Monday at his home in Modesto.

George was the first County Administrative Officer in Butte County, appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 1953 and serving to 1967. He was appointed Stanislaus CAO in 1968 serving until his retirement in 1979.  After his retirement, George became a prominent consultant in California on local government organization and finance. He helped incorporate many new cities (and towns) in California, including Paradise, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Truckee, and many others.

George rose to prominence in the California government in the 1960’s and 70’s and was a force in advocating for effective and efficient county services. He was a strong advocate of professionalizing the role and position of County Administrator in both California and across the United States.  He was elected by his peers to be one of the first Presidents of the California Association of County Administrators and was also elected President of the National Association of County Administrators.  In later years, George served on the Board of Directors of the Nation Railcar Passenger’s Association, reflecting his lifelong passion for trains and rail travel.

George provided great leadership to those that worked for him and was a mentor to many who chose a career in public service. Many went on to become top managers in California county government, including me. I had the pleasure of working with George as a Deputy County Administrator when he was appointed the Interim County Administrator in Solano County in 1987.

California has lost a great public servant, a true professional and an icon and mentor to county administration. He will be missed.

He is survived by his wife Iris, daughters Anne and Meg, and son Don, who is the Assistant Assessor in Stanislaus County.

For more, visit The County Voice, a place where CSAC, county officials and stakeholders can voice their thoughts on governance and issues that impact California’s 58 counties.