The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors has selected Elishia Hayes as County Administrative Officer (CAO), effective today, Oct. 5. The CAO’s responsibilities are laid out in County Code, and Hayes will be responsible for overseeing the county’s annual $500 million budget, carrying out policies, rules and regulations implemented by the Board of Supervisors, supervising the affairs and administration of 20 county departments and directly managing six divisions.
Hayes brings considerable experience and expertise to the position. For the past decade Hayes has been a significant member of the Humboldt County Administrative Office having served as Deputy and Assistant County Administrative Officer. She was appointed as the Interim CAO when Amy S. Nilsen resigned, effective July 4. She has implemented several complex projects with county-wide impact including: transparent implementation of Measure Z, the county’s half-cent sales tax measure; serving as a key leader developing policies and overseeing finances related to local COVID-19 response; coordinating, developing and managing the county’s $505-million budget; twice earning national recognition for following best financial practices in budget development; developing long-term funding strategies and fiscally prudent financial policies, including capital investments; among others. In her personal time, Hayes supports the fund raising efforts of the California Cancer Crushers, which supports local families impacted by cancer.
“I am honored and humbled the Board of Supervisors has the confidence in me to lead the county,” said Hayes. “I can’t thank the board enough for the opportunity as I am thrilled to continue working with each one of them. While I am no stranger to hard work or long days, our employees truly set the example.”
4th District Humboldt County Supervisor and Vice-Chair Mike Wilson said that Hayes’ ability to develop and maintain good working relationships with department heads, financial expertise and knowledge of daily operations made her a logical choice to lead the approximate 2,000 employee organization.
“Elishia is accomplished and will bring several strengths and stability to our organization. We are confident in the choice to have her lead the organization,” Wilson said. “We face numerous issues that will require her full attention and extraordinary effort but more importantly, recognize and use the tremendous energy and expertise of our employees.”
2nd Humboldt County District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell said Hayes’ good working relationships with supervisors is key but recognizes Hayes has already worked tirelessly in that area.
“Humboldt County is Elishia’s home and our Board is looking forward to this journey with her as the day-to-day leader of our organization.”