San Diego County Chief Administrative Officer Recruitment Process

The County of San Diego is conducting a comprehensive nationwide search for its next Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The CAO is appointed by the Board of Supervisors to implement the Board’s vision and policies and direct the County’s daily operations.

Helen Robbins-Meyer, who began serving as CAO in 2012, retired on January 9, 2024.

County of San Diego CAO Recruitment Timeline

The following plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors at its meeting on December 12, 2023. The Board also retained CPS HR Consulting, a State of California Joint Powers Agency, to provide Executive Search Services for the recruitment.

  • Early 2023: The Board contracted with a third-party vendor to conduct an executive recruitment for a CAO. During that process, significant community feedback was sought to inform the Board of the attributes and characteristics the public was seeking in the next CAO. This comprehensive report was provided to CPS HR as way of background to begin the new recruitment process.
  • January 2-February 22, 2024: The CAO position was advertised nationally; applications were received from potential CAO candidates.
  • May 3: The Board conducted interviews with semi-finalist candidates to determine finalist candidates for further consideration. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move foward two candidates to the community panel.
  • Between May 3 and May 22: A panel of ten (10) community members (two representatives from each Supervisorial District) interviews finalist candidates and provides feedback to the Board regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.
  • May 22: The Board conducts final interviews with finalist candidates and identifies the next CAO. An announcement will not be made until negotiations with the chosen candidate are completed and an employment agreement is approved at a public meeting.
  • June 4: Anticipated approval of employment agreement and announcement of next CAO.
  • August: This is the anticipated start date for the new CAO.

Interim CAO

On Tuesday, January 9, 2024, Sarah Aghassi, one of the County’s Deputy CAOs, was selected by the Board to serve as Interim CAO while the County continues the process of selecting a permanent CAO.

Recruitment Activities

Applications for the CAO position are open until the position is filled. The first round of resume reviews began on February 20, 2024. Information about the position can be found on the CPS HR website.

Direct any questions about the position or recruitment activities to Manager/Executive Recruiter Pam Derby at CPS HR Consulting, 916-471-3126 or