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County Leaders’ Revolving Door: Retiring Public Works Director Tapped as Interim County CEO

Pat Minturn, who recently announced his retirement after nearly 30 years as Shasta County’s Public Works director, may serve as the county’s interim CEO until a permanent county leader is selected.

The decision was made during Tuesday’s Shasta County Board of Supervisors closed session that began after 10:30 p.m. and concluded about an hour later.

Minturn wasn’t officially hired last night. Instead, the supervisors agreed to agendize the issue of Minturn’s possible appointment approval for a vote during their next board meeting on June 14

Shasta County Board Chambers

The closed session followed the Board of Supervisors regular meeting that began at 5:30, one of the occasional night meetings offered to accommodate those who cannot make the morning meetings.

Shasta County Counsel Rubin Cruse made the employee appointment announcement after the supervisors exited the closed session. By that time, the board chambers were nearly empty.

Minturn will assume the duties of Matt Pontes, who resigned after enduring relentless pressure by board majority Dist. 5 Supervisor Les Baugh, Dist. 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones, and Dist. 2 Supervisor Tim Garman.

(Read Pontes’ farewell statement, below.)

Garman  replaced former Dist. 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty in March following a special  election that removed Moty from office in a misinformation-based recall funded by Connecticut billionaire Reverge Anselmo.

Pontes, who’s expected to leave his position sometime this month, was targeted by Baugh and Jones for months. Board newcomer Garman’s ascension to Moty’s former Dist. 2 board seat catapulted the board’s majority power to Baugh, Jones and Garman. The three – ultra-conservative, anti-government, pro-recall, Red, White and Blueprint devotees — are part of an alt-right movement whose leaders and believers have vowed for two years to “drain the swap” and “take back Shasta County”.

Pontes was hired as Shasta County’s CEO in January, 2020. His previous job was as Santa Barbara County’s assistant CEO where his leadership skills were hailed for helping guide the development of a new detention/jail facility.

Earlier in the board meeting, supervisors voted unanimously to hire Albert Cathey, Deputy Director Engineering, as the interim Public Works Director while the board searches for Minturn’s permanent replacement.

Cathey said he would apply for Minturn’s position, but added that if the supervisors found someone better qualified to hire as Public Works director than himself, Cathey would be happy to work for that person.

Since February, Shasta County has suffered an exodus of well-respected top-tier leaders, for reasons that ranged from political pressure to dismissal. The high-ranking Shasta County officials include Dist. 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty, Chief Health Officer Karen Ramstrom, Health and Human Services Director Donnell Ewert and Public Works Director Pat Minturn.

Click here for a Wednesday statement from current Shasta County CEO Matt Pontes.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story suggested that supervisors hired Mintern during Tuesday’s closed session. In fact, the supervisors voted to agendize the decision of Minturn’s official appointment for the June 14 supervisors meeting. 

Farewell message from Matt Pontes, Shasta County CEO

To all of the dedicated Shasta County employees, good afternoon!

Due to the late ending of last night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting, I wanted to let you know that during closed session, the Board unanimously voted to consider appointing Pat Minturn as Acting County Executive Officer at the next Board of Supervisors Hearing on June 14th. This appointment of Acting CEO will continue as the County recruits and interviews for a permanent CEO.

As you may recall, Mr. Minturn recently announced his retirement as Director of Public Works after many successful years at the helm of that critical department.

I want you to know that I appreciate your resilience during the many recent leadership changes and want you to be confident in the fact that we have experienced leaders in place. I am very proud of your efforts serving the community and our ability to maintain the continuity of services to the public.

Best,
Matt Pontes

If you appreciate journalist Doni Chamberlain’s reporting, please consider a contribution to A News Cafe. Thank you. 

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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