Shasta County Board May Approve CEO Contract Tuesday

David Rickert, prospective Shasta County CEO, is not related to Shasta County Supervisor Mary Rickert.

Shasta County’s Board of Supervisors will consider approval Tuesday evening of a three-year employment contract with David J. Rickert, 56, recently of Elgin, Ill, where he served as Winnebago County’s Chief Financial Officer.

Rickert, who is not related to Shasta County Supervisor Mary Rickert, will be offered the position of Shasta County’s Chief Executive Officer and Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

He was publicly identified for the first time on Thursday when an agenda for the upcoming Board of Supervisor’s meeting was posted online. Rickert’s first contract term will begin May 30, or “such later date as stated in writing and acknowledged by both Mr. Rickert and the (board) chair,” Patrick Jones, according to board agenda item R7.

Rickert and Shasta County Counsel James R. Ross have each already signed an employment contract attached as supporting material to the online agenda. To be official, the contract must also be dated and signed by Jones, chair of the five-member board, and witnessed by Mary Williams, acting Clerk of the Board/interim CEO.

Rickert will be paid a base salary at step C on the salary range, which equates to $124.325 per hour or $258,600 per year, paid in 12 installments of $21,550 per month, the agenda states.

In addition to his salary, Rickert will be offered relocation expenses, a $5,000 annual automobile allowance for driving his own car for county business, reimbursement for any membership dues paid to civic organizations he might join and 15 years of credit for the position he holds, which will automatically provide him with 17 equivalent days of vacation leave that is immediately available, according to the contract being offered.

Rickert was among a group of seven candidates interviewed in late February by five citizens appointed by each county supervisor, a second group of five county managers or other elected officials, and a third group made up of the five supervisors with each group meeting in closed session.

Prior to the interview, Rickert was recruited, interviewed and vetted by the executive-level recruiting firm of WBCP Inc. of Rogue River, Ore., which serves public sector, nonprofit and private clients in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona and Colorado, according to the company’s website.

Rickert is a Certified Public Accountant with a master’s degree in accounting from Roosevelt University, a private university with campuses in Chicago and Schaumburg, Illinois. Founded in 1945, the university was named in honor of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, according to Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia.

Rickert also holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Northern Illinois University, a public research university in DeKalb, Ill. It was originally founded as Northern Illinois State Normal School on May 22, 1895, by Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld as part of an expansion of the state’s system for producing college-educated teachers.

Before Rickert, who is a Republican, was elected Treasurer of Kane County, he was a senior auditor for American General Corp., a Fortune 500 company, according to the Rockford Register Star newspaper.

Prior to seeking the Shasta County CEO/Clerk position, Rickert served as the elected Treasurer of nearby Kane County, Ill., for 22 years, according to an article written by Chris Green and published in the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star newspaper on Dec. 9, 2020, shortly after Rickert accepted the Winnebago County, Ill., CFO position.

In November of 2020, Rickert narrowly lost an election to become chairman of Kane County’s governing board to Corinne Pierog, a Democrat. At the time, he still had two years remaining of his term as county Treasurer.

However, Rickert did not resign his elected post as Kane County Treasurer’s until Sun., Jan. 3, 2021, when pressured by a vocal group of Kane County officials to “fish or cut bait,” according to a statement made by Republican board member Jim Martin published Jan. 6, 2021, in the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper based in Elgin, Ill.

Rickert started working as CFO for Winnebago County on Dec. 7, 2020, even though his employment was not confirmed until a 19-0 vote of the county’s board was taken on Dec. 10, 2020.

When asked at the time about the discrepancy, Winnebago County Administrator Patrick Thompson confirmed Rickert stared his new job days before he was officially voted in, according to the Kane County Chronicle in a story published Dec. 14, 2020.

“I was very confident going into the board meeting that we had the support we needed,” Thompson told reporter Brenda Schory of the Kane County Chronicle.

“He’s very well qualified and he has experience over 20 years working as a county treasurer in a larger organization and many years of experience working in county finance,” Thompson was quoted by Schory in the same story.

With a population of about 300,000 and an annual budget of about $150,000 million, Winnebago County is smaller than Kane County in both population and budget, Thompson noted.

At about the same time, Kane County board member Bill Lenert, also a Republican, told Patch staff reporter Jason Addy that Rickert had an obligation to resign, “ethically or morally,” as he noted Rickert was earning two large taxpayer-funded salaries by simultaneously holding public sector jobs in two Illinois counties.

Rickert was paid $122,500 per year as Winnebago’s CFO. His salary as Kane County’s elected Treasurer was listed at $99,990 for 2019. No updated salary figures were immediately available for 2020.

Kane County is 513 square miles, fifth largest in the state of Illinois, and had 532,000 residents, according to the 2020 census. It operates on a $283 million budget. Rockford, Ill., is the county seat.

Winnebago County is the same state’s seventh largest county with an estimated population of 282,000 and operates on a $211 million budget.

By comparison, Shasta County in California has a total area of 3,847 square miles, a population in 2020 of 182,155 residents, and an operating budget for 2022-’23 totaling $618,665,444, an amount that includes total governmental funds of $541,212,157; internal service funds of $34,851,078; enterprise funds of $26,593,051 and funds for special districts and other agencies governed by the Board of Supervisors amounting to $16,009,158.

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors regular evening meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tues., May 16, in the supervisors chambers on the second floor of the Shasta County Administration Center, 1450 Court St., Suite 263, in Redding.

Correction: This story originally misstated the CEO’s car allowance as a monthly allowance. Rather, the $5,000 car allowance is annual, divided between 12 months.


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George Winship

George Winship is a long-time Shasta County resident with a wide range of professional and community experience. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, he joined the Redding Record Searchlight as an award-winning reporter, and was the paper’s first business editor. He worked as a district field representative for Senator Maurice Johannessen, and later became editor of the Anderson Valley Post. Winship is a former Shasta County Grand Jury member. He owns and operates The Village Wordsmith, where he edits and rewrites clients’ book manuscripts, and works as a researcher and freelance feature writer. He can be reached at gwinship@shasta.com.

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