Calling San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy an exceptional leader during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis and recent wildfires, the Board of Supervisors today unanimously voted to extend his contract for four years.
“I am so appreciative and so privileged to work for this Board which is just so dedicated to public service,” Callagy said during the Board’s regular Tuesday meeting, adding that he also feels honored to lead the County’s more than 5,500 employees and department heads who he credited for their tremendous work during the crisis. “Thank you so much for your confidence.”
As county manager, Callagy oversees a $3.7 billion budget and a workforce who provides safety net services, health, parks, public works and public safety programs to a county of more than 760,000 residents. The county manager oversees the daily operations of County government, manages its projects and carries out policies set by the Board of Supervisors.
For the majority of 2020, Callagy is also serving as the Director of Emergency Services as the County — like the nation and world — responds to COVID-19. Under Callagy’s leadership, the County activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on March 2 and since has stood up the state’s first no-cost COVID-19 testing site through Verily at the Event Center.
Facing the magnitude of the pandemic, the County under Callagy’s leadership has stockpiled personal protective equipment, secured hotel rooms to house homeless and those who need to isolate outside the home, launched a countywide recovery initiative, and implemented several Board-funded programs to help renters, landlords, immigrants, students and other vulnerable communities.
In August, the CZU Lightening fires also tore through San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, requiring thousands of residents to evacuate from coastal areas. The County quickly poured all available resources into helping displaced residents secure food, shelter and other emergency needs a swell as safely evacuating livestock and pets and taking other actions to protect health and safety.
Board President Warren Slocum said Callagy has provided strong leadership during times of prosperity as well as the current unprecedented times.
“I can tell you with absolute certainty that during 2020 … his responses to the twin crises we’ve faced, the pandemic and the wildfires, has been stellar,” he said.
Slocum praised Callagy’s forward-thinking leadership in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He wanted to take nothing for granted. He wanted to stand up the EOC, staff the Emergency Operations Center and I think as a result our residents have been well-served and obviously much safer.”
Supervisor Carole Groom said county residents are “fortunate to have you leading the County at this particular time.”
The supervisors praised Callagy’s effective communications skills, especially at a time of crisis, his hands-on approach and ability to multi-task.
“He seems to juggle a lot of balls in the air and does it quite well. Nothing gets dropped, nothing gets missed,” Supervisor Don Horsley said.
Supervisor David Canepa noted Callagy’s accessibility to employees, officials and residents alike and said his leadership style resonates with others in the organization. Canepa also said Callagy’s “ingenuity shows” with creative ideas like the newly launched “Mask Mobile” used for community outreach around COVID-19.
Supervisor Dave Pine summed up the Board’s appreciation of Callagy: “We’re very lucky to have you as our county manager.”
The Board appointed Callagy to the position with a two-year contract in 2018, five years after he joined the county first as a deputy county manager and then assistant county manager under previous County Manager John Maltbie, who retired. He previously spent 29 years with the San Mateo Police Department where he ran day-to-day operations and retired as the deputy chief.
Callagy holds a law degree from Santa Clara University, a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees in public administration from Notre Dame de Namur University and a Master’s degree in homeland defense and security from the Naval Postgraduate School.