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Contra Costa selects new county manager

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 3:27 pm in Contra Costa County, Uncategorized.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has chosen a Minnesota county manager as its new top executive.

David Twa (pictured on right) will take over the duties of County Administrative Officer when John Cullen retires in the fall. The supervisors have been interviewing top candidates for the past month.

Given California’s deep financial troubles facing public agencies, one might ask why any normal person would want this job? But then again, Contra Costa is pretty nice place to live … and it doesn’t have winter, not like a real winter in Minnesota.

Photo downloaded from the Ramsey County web site.

Read more for the full county press release issued a few minutes ago.

CONTRA COSTA BOARD OF SUPERVISORS SELECTS MINNESOTA’S 2007 COUNTY MANAGER OF THE YEAR AS THE NEW ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – The Board of Supervisors announced the appointment of David Twa to be their new County Administrative Officer (CAO) to assume responsibilities as the manager of the county when current CAO John Cullen retires this fall. The members of the Board expressed satisfaction that they were able to hire a seasoned professional manager that is so well qualified to take over the reigns of the County. Federal Glover, the Chair of the Board of Supervisors stated, “David Twa comes with an impressive set of credentials. He has significant experience in a state where county government is very similar to California. His executive, financial, legal and service delivery experience prepares him extremely well for helping us take on the many challenging issues facing Contra Costa County.

Mr. Twa will join Contra Costa County from Ramsey County Minnesota, where he has served as the County Manager for the past five years. He has served as the County Administrator in three Counties in Minnesota for over twenty years. In addition to these assignments, Mr. Twa also served as an Elected County Attorney, Interim Property Records and Revenue Director, Executive Director of Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and Interim Director of Public Health and Long-term Care. Mr. Twa received his Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota, as well as a degree in accounting, and is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Under David Twa’s leadership Ramsey County has maintained a AAA credit rating, one of few counties in the country to achieve this distinguished ranking. He also has overseen his county’s efforts to institute a Strategic Planning Program, address Health Care Cost Liability, started a two year budget process, work with community partners to improve public services in the Minneapolis- St. Paul Region, and, institute significant redevelopment projects. “David has demonstrated the creativity, initiative and personal commitment necessary to positively address many issues that confront local government,” said Glover.

Twa was named the County Manager of the Year (2007) by the Minnesota Association of County Administrators, for his innovation in public service. Mr. Twa is married and has three adult children. He is also an avid runner who regularly takes part in marathons.

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  • John W.

    At first blush, this seems like a really good hire. Could it be that the CCC sups actually did something right? Ramsey County includes St. Paul, seat of state government (where I once worked) and is also a blue collar city with lots of union tradition. Experience in that environment could come in handy. Wonder how much they had to pay him to come from a relatively low cost, high quality of life area like the Twin Cities to the mess he’ll be facing in CCC.

  • John W.

    At first blush, this seems like a really good hire. Could it be that the CCC sups actually did something right? Ramsey County includes St. Paul, seat of state government (where I once worked) and is also a blue collar city with lots of union tradition. Experience in that environment could come in handy. Wonder how much they had to pay him to come from a relatively low cost, high quality of life area like the Twin Cities to the mess he’ll be facing in CCC.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    We don’t know how much the county will pay Twa until the conclusion of contract negotiations, which I’m told will happen sometime in the next couple of weeks. The Board of Supervisors will have to approve it and the contract is a public document, so we’ll get the details.

    Given the price of housing here compared to Minnesota and the county’s huge challenges, he won’t come cheap, I’m sure.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    We don’t know how much the county will pay Twa until the conclusion of contract negotiations, which I’m told will happen sometime in the next couple of weeks. The Board of Supervisors will have to approve it and the contract is a public document, so we’ll get the details.

    Given the price of housing here compared to Minnesota and the county’s huge challenges, he won’t come cheap, I’m sure.

  • John W.

    I looked up his salary on the Ramsey County website, which publishes salary info for the 3 top paid people. 2008 salary is $147K, so there is lots of room to make him whole on the cost of living difference without breaking the bank. Of course, the county population and county budget are twice as much in Contra Costa compared with Ramsey. So, he’ll have greater scope of responsibility. As both an attorney and a CPA, he’ll know how to negotiate on his own behalf. I read some stuff online showing that Ramsey county made some big changes under his leadership to deal with OPEB.

  • John W.

    I looked up his salary on the Ramsey County website, which publishes salary info for the 3 top paid people. 2008 salary is $147K, so there is lots of room to make him whole on the cost of living difference without breaking the bank. Of course, the county population and county budget are twice as much in Contra Costa compared with Ramsey. So, he’ll have greater scope of responsibility. As both an attorney and a CPA, he’ll know how to negotiate on his own behalf. I read some stuff online showing that Ramsey county made some big changes under his leadership to deal with OPEB.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    FYI, I just looked this up in our clips: Cullen earned $238,000 in base salary starting in December 2007. He received an 8 percent raise that month.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    FYI, I just looked this up in our clips: Cullen earned $238,000 in base salary starting in December 2007. He received an 8 percent raise that month.

  • Richard Colman

    To the Editor:

    The miserable condition of Contra Costa County’s finances will continue unabated unless the county’s Board of Supervisors is open to new ideas. In late 2006, all current county supervisors supported raising their pay by 60%. Supervisor Susan Bonilla spent an unnecessary $200,000 for a new office for herself. Supervisor Mary Piepho, in her recent re-election compaign, would not pledge to oppose any tax or fee increases. The unecessary 60% pay hike will cause county workers to demand even higher compensation. Unions representing county workers will begin negotiating for new labor agreements soon. If county workers go on strike, country residents will still have to pay taxes to the county whether or not the strike interferes with county services. The supervisors must be open to privatizing as many county services as possible. County residents must tell the Board of Supervisors that they will not tolerate any tax or fee increases. With gasoline at $4.50 per gallon, county residents cannot afford to pay any more taxes. The supervisors must begin an effort to economize. The county could start saving money by contracting with a private company to run the county library system.

    Richard Colman
    Orinda

  • Richard Colman

    To the Editor:

    The miserable condition of Contra Costa County’s finances will continue unabated unless the county’s Board of Supervisors is open to new ideas. In late 2006, all current county supervisors supported raising their pay by 60%. Supervisor Susan Bonilla spent an unnecessary $200,000 for a new office for herself. Supervisor Mary Piepho, in her recent re-election compaign, would not pledge to oppose any tax or fee increases. The unecessary 60% pay hike will cause county workers to demand even higher compensation. Unions representing county workers will begin negotiating for new labor agreements soon. If county workers go on strike, country residents will still have to pay taxes to the county whether or not the strike interferes with county services. The supervisors must be open to privatizing as many county services as possible. County residents must tell the Board of Supervisors that they will not tolerate any tax or fee increases. With gasoline at $4.50 per gallon, county residents cannot afford to pay any more taxes. The supervisors must begin an effort to economize. The county could start saving money by contracting with a private company to run the county library system.

    Richard Colman
    Orinda

  • Elwood

    Minnesota has four seasons:

    Sept. 1 to May 31: Winter

    June 1 to June 30: Mud season

    July 1 to August 1: Bug season

    August 1 to August 31: Summer

    Make your reservations early. The nice weekend goes fast.

  • Elwood

    Minnesota has four seasons:

    Sept. 1 to May 31: Winter

    June 1 to June 30: Mud season

    July 1 to August 1: Bug season

    August 1 to August 31: Summer

    Make your reservations early. The nice weekend goes fast.

  • Troublemaker

    Mr. Coleman

    What increases in taxes are you referring to? I think it is easy to make that statements like that in an attempt to mislead people. It is called fear mongering.

    When is the last time supervisor’s “raised” taxes? And what specific taxes would those be?

    Perhaps you should think about focusing on the positve instead of recycling old Ken Hambrick privatazion theories.

    Let’s see if you can honestly answer the question.

  • Troublemaker

    Mr. Coleman

    What increases in taxes are you referring to? I think it is easy to make that statements like that in an attempt to mislead people. It is called fear mongering.

    When is the last time supervisor’s “raised” taxes? And what specific taxes would those be?

    Perhaps you should think about focusing on the positve instead of recycling old Ken Hambrick privatazion theories.

    Let’s see if you can honestly answer the question.

  • Troublemaker

    Mr. Coleman

    What increases in taxes are you referring to? I think it is easy to make statements like that in an attempt to mislead people. It is called fear mongering.

    When is the last time supervisors “raised” taxes? And what specific taxes would those be?

    Perhaps you should think about focusing on the positve instead of recycling old Ken Hambrick privatazion theories.

    Let’s see if you can honestly answer the question.

  • Troublemaker

    Mr. Coleman

    What increases in taxes are you referring to? I think it is easy to make statements like that in an attempt to mislead people. It is called fear mongering.

    When is the last time supervisors “raised” taxes? And what specific taxes would those be?

    Perhaps you should think about focusing on the positve instead of recycling old Ken Hambrick privatazion theories.

    Let’s see if you can honestly answer the question.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com Bill Gram-Reefer

    Even Dr William Walker suggested that Supes look into sending out even more Health Department services to competent CBOs than they do already now. Let alone look into high cost of maintenance, security, and clerical staff. It’s on the table and not a mystery.

    Here’s a positive suggestion: the Contra Costa Supervisors should reexamine why it acts as the Community Action Agency, and help the CBOs in our community deliver services. It’s not a lot but the CSBG dollars for LiHeap and other programs, more often than not are used to keep the doors open (i.e.) pay salaries, instead of provide much needed services.

    There is no reason in the world why the County should be the operator of Head Start that may be better supported by educators instead of make work jobs in the Community Services Division.

    Let’s get the community back into community action. It seems the more the County tries to hang on to or take away from the community, the deeper the hole we find ourselves in.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com Bill Gram-Reefer

    Even Dr William Walker suggested that Supes look into sending out even more Health Department services to competent CBOs than they do already now. Let alone look into high cost of maintenance, security, and clerical staff. It’s on the table and not a mystery.

    Here’s a positive suggestion: the Contra Costa Supervisors should reexamine why it acts as the Community Action Agency, and help the CBOs in our community deliver services. It’s not a lot but the CSBG dollars for LiHeap and other programs, more often than not are used to keep the doors open (i.e.) pay salaries, instead of provide much needed services.

    There is no reason in the world why the County should be the operator of Head Start that may be better supported by educators instead of make work jobs in the Community Services Division.

    Let’s get the community back into community action. It seems the more the County tries to hang on to or take away from the community, the deeper the hole we find ourselves in.

  • John W.

    I read somewhere that, in dealing with Ramsey County’s OPEB challenge, Mr. Twa was given guidelines to do so in a manner that mimimized any tax or service impacts. It appears that the solution was primarily a completely different benefits package for new hires. I’d be surprised if Rollie Katz (representative for CCC’s largest employee union) hasn’t already been burning up the phone talking to his counterpart in Ramsey County. I hope the supervisors will let Mr. Twa bail them out of the OPEB problem and not get in his way. Not long ago, a Contra Costa school board member was quoted as saying that “we are the board of education, not the board of benefits.” The supervisors need to adopt that frame of mind.

  • John W.

    I read somewhere that, in dealing with Ramsey County’s OPEB challenge, Mr. Twa was given guidelines to do so in a manner that mimimized any tax or service impacts. It appears that the solution was primarily a completely different benefits package for new hires. I’d be surprised if Rollie Katz (representative for CCC’s largest employee union) hasn’t already been burning up the phone talking to his counterpart in Ramsey County. I hope the supervisors will let Mr. Twa bail them out of the OPEB problem and not get in his way. Not long ago, a Contra Costa school board member was quoted as saying that “we are the board of education, not the board of benefits.” The supervisors need to adopt that frame of mind.