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

San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors has restarted the search for a new chief administrative officer to succeed the outgoing Helen Robbins-Meyer, a county attorney announced Wednesday.

Inga Lintvedt, chief deputy county counsel, said that supervisors met in closed session for roughly 50 minutes Tuesday, and voted “unanimously to commence a new search for the impending CAO vacancy.”

Supervisors voted 4-0 in April in favor of keeping Robbins-Meyer as interim chief administrative officer for a limited time. After 12 years in the position, she was expected to leave in late March after announcing her retirement in October 2022.

Board Chairwoman Nora Vargas made a formal request in an official 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.”

The request to keep Robbins-Meyer on the job followed a political earthquake involving former District 4 Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

Fletcher resigned in May after admitting to an affair with a woman who then sued him, alleging he sexually assaulted and harassed her. He has denied those allegations.

In late March, Fletcher announced that he would seek treatment for alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress.

District 4 residents will choose Fletcher’s successor in a Nov. 7 special election. San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery-Steppe and Amy Reichert, a Reopen San Diego founder who challenged Fletcher in November 2022, are vying for the seat.

In a statement Wednesday, Supervisor Jim Desmond said the decision “reflects our commitment to ensuring that this critical position is filled in a manner that prioritizes the interests of the county of San Diego and its residents above all else.

“One of the critical aspects of this decision is the assurance that the hiring process will proceed without any input or influence from Nathan Fletcher,” Desmond said.

Desmond added that the county “deserves a CAO who will work tirelessly to serve the public, prioritize fiscal responsibility, and promote the well-being of our community.

“I look forward to the upcoming process and the opportunity to select a qualified individual who will help lead our county into a prosperous future,” he added.

–City News Service