Helen Robbins-Meyer
Helen Robbins-Meyer. Credit: County News Center

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors during its meeting Tuesday will “take action” to temporarily retain Helen Robbins-Meyer as chief administrative officer, officials said Thursday.

Board Chairwoman Nora Vargas made the formal request in a letter, which stated that Robbins-Meyer would serve as interim CAO “for a limited duration and certify that her appointment is necessary to fill a critically needed position before 180 days have passed since her retirement date.”

According to the letter, Robbins-Meyer retired from the county on Thursday, with her retirement taking effect with the San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association (SDCERA) on Friday.

“The CAO position is now vacant and it will be several months before the recruitment and on-boarding of a new CAO is completed,” according to the board letter, which goes on to state that “Helen Robbins-Meyer has agreed to return as a retiree-rehire and serve as the interim CAO.”

The proposal comes at a time of turmoil for the board, following the planned resignation of District 4 Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who had been part of the ongoing search for Robbins-Meyer’s successor.

Late Wednesday, Fletcher announced that he would leave his post in May, after admitting to an affair with a woman who then sued him, alleging he sexually assaulted and harassed her.

Supervisors have held several closed sessions – the most recent on Saturday – on the CAO position. Robbins-Meyer announced her retirement in October after being in the post since 2012 and serving for 25 years in county government. She had left her departure date open to allow time for a thorough search process.

The CAO is responsible for carrying out the board’s policy directives and managing day-to-day governmental operations and functions, including the annual budget.

According to the board letter, California Government Code states that any retired person receiving a pension from a public retirement system “shall not be employed by an employer in the same retirement system for a period of 180 days following the date of retirement.”

There are exceptions, though, such as the critical need cited by Vargas.

The board letter is agenda item No. 28 for Tuesday’s meeting, which will start at 9 a.m. at the County Administration Center.

City News Service