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New Placer CEO Boesch outlines reason for split with San Mateo County

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - When new Placer County CEO Dave Boesch was hired by the Board of Supervisors, it was no secret that he had been out of a job for seven months after parting ways with San Mateo County. With Google searches available to prospective employers large and small, reports from the November split were readily available. And current Placer County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Jennifer Montgomery said the reports were utilized in vetting Boesch?s past history. He had served three years as San Mateo County?s top administrator but left, citing a ?difference in philosophies,? according to news accounts at the time. Montgomery said the reported reasons behind Boesch?s departure ? particularly his stance on ensuring the county could pay for the cost of a new jail ? strengthened her belief he would be the right candidate for the job of Placer CEO. Boesch reportedly raised concerns about the county building a new jail with the possibility of no solid, long-term funding to maintain it. ?We had 51 applicants and I googled everybody,? Montgomery said. ?It was one of the first things I did.? Montgomery said she grew up in the San Mateo County area and contacted people she knew as secondary sources. ?We have a new jail that we?ll be struggling with in the years to come and I saw it as a bonus (Boesch?s strong fiscal stance),? Montgomery said. The separation from San Mateo was ?one tiny piece? of why Boesch became the top candidate, Montgomery said, citing perceived strengths in economic development, redevelopment and city-county issues. Boesch expanded on his departure from San Mateo County in a Journal interview last week. ?It really became evident back in early November that the board was looking to move in a different direction and thought that different leadership at the helm would be helpful in that regard,? Boesch said. ?There wasn?t any single particular issue that resulted in my separating from San Mateo County.? Boesch said that some reporters had speculated that it had to do with the jail-planning process. ?It was clear that at one point I had a different position than the sheriff and ultimately, where the board wanted to go,? Boesch said. ?I don?t think that was the single issue that resulted in my separating from the county.? Boesch added that it had also been reported he went against the grain by taking an ?across-the-board approach to balancing the county budget.? ?It really, I think misrepresents the process that we were taking to truly try to restore a structural balance to the county?s budget,? Boesch said. ?We were really trying to take a very precise approach as opposed to a broad brush, sweeping reductions.? The Journal contacted San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley for his opinion on Boesch?s description of reasons behind his departure. Horsley, a retired San Mateo County sheriff, replied in an e-mail his account was ?pretty accurate.? Boesch said that governments are operating under challenging conditions. ?Often-times organizations that are under some degree of stress feel like one of the ways to respond to that is to change the CEO and bring in a different leader with perhaps a different style,? Boesch said. ?I respect the board?s prerogative in that area.?