The County of Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith announced Thursday the appointment of Bruce Wagstaff as the director of the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency. Wagstaff, who will step into the new role on July 5, will be responsible for oversight of the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency (SSA), one of the largest public agencies in the County. The agency employs more than 2,500 staff and has an annual operating budget of $600 million. The position reports to the County Executive.
“We’re very pleased to have Mr. Wagstaff join our team,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. “His expertise in the Social Services field, including his experience with welfare reform and managing tough fiscal budgets, will be an asset to the County.”
Wagstaff currently serves as Chief Deputy County Executive for the County of Sacramento, overseeing 5,000 employees, and 10 county departments, including Health and Human Services, and Human Assistance. He was the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance Director from 2005 to 2009, where he managed programs including General Assistance, CalWORKs, Food Stamps, Medi-Cal, Senior Nutrition, and Veterans Services programs. He administered a budget of more than $650 million, and achieved California’s highest rate of compliance for expedited service in the Food Stamps Program. As Chief Deputy County Executive, he has focused on improving the child welfare system, collaborating with the community, managing services in a difficult budget climate, and finding new approaches to doing business. He played a key role in developing and implementing Sacramento’s Ten Year Homeless Plan, resulting in a 50% reduction in chronic homelessness.
Prior to working with Sacramento County, Wagstaff spent 31 years with the California Department of Social Services, including a combined 10 years as Deputy Director for the Children and Family Services Division and Deputy Director of the Welfare to Work Division. He served as the State Administration’s lead representative in the development and implementation of California’s $6.4 billion CalWORKs welfare reform initiative. Through his efforts in policy development and oversight of state wide program implementation, he played an instrumental role in achieving federal financial bonuses totaling over $150 million, attaining federal work participation standards that saved the State more than $250 million in General Fund expenditures, and achieving a statewide caseload reduction of over 40 percent.
“I’m looking forward to becoming a part of County leadership and working to ensure that the Social Services Agency has the strongest possible partnerships with other agencies in the county and stakeholders in the community,” Wagstaff said. “Given the budgets at the federal, state and local levels, we have to be creative in ensuring that we have a strong safety net in the community.”
Wagstaff holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from CSU Sacramento, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science/public service from UC Davis. Currently, he is the president and an executive committee member of the California Welfare Director’s Association. He is also a member of the Sacramento County First Five Commission, Sacramento County Child and Family Policy Board, National Association of County Human Services Administrators, and the American Public Human Services Association.
Wagstaff is married with three daughters, 18-year-old twins, and one 15 year old.