CSAC Honors County Service With Annual Awards
November 20, 2020
One of the highlights of every CSAC annual meeting is the chance to celebrate excellence in County service with awards. And although CSAC’s 126th Annual Meeting was held virtually this year, the Association still honored a host of state and county officials, as well as CSAC team members, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The Distinguished Service Award honors individuals who have made significant public policy contributions in support of California Counties. This year’s award was presented to Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly. No stranger to County service and the integral role that county public health officials play in protecting the health of Californians, Secretary Ghaly has been instrumental partner for California Counties and CSAC during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CSAC President’s Award recognizes Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has served his community for more than 30 years, including terms as Assembly Member and State Senator. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has also been an active member of CSAC’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. As the Supervisor completes his third term this year, his career in local government is far from over as he was recently elected the Los Angeles City Council.
Circle of Service Awards
Through its annual Circle of Service Awards, CSAC recognizes county officials, staff and other association-affiliated members whose service to our Association and our membership has been substantially above and beyond the norm. County officials to receive the award in 2020 are:
Mendocino County Supervisor Carre Brown. As wildfires continue to be a top priority for CSAC and the state of California, Supervisor Brown has always been willing to make the journey to Sacramento and testify on behalf of her Mendocino County community and other rural counties. Her first-hand experiences, and straightforward nature, provide a dose of local reality to the legislative experience. CSAC greatly appreciate her service on the CSAC Board of Directors as well as the Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Supervisor Brown is retiring at the end of the year.
Trinity County Supervisor Judy Morris. During her tenure, Supervisor Morris demonstrated versatility and vast knowledge of many issues while serving CSAC in a wide variety of important leadership capacities. Beyond representing Trinity County on the CSAC Board of Directors, Supervisor Morris held leadership roles including terms as the Association Treasurer, Chair of the Government Finance & Administration Policy Committee, Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum and Co-Chair of the CSAC Cannabis Working Group. Supervisor Morris has been a strong voice for rural issues, bringing that voice regularly to Sacramento, and will be greatly missed in her retirement.
Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington. As a member of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors and most recently serving as Vice Chair of the Government Finance and Operations Policy Committee, Supervisor Washington is incredibly engaged and dedicated to California’s counties. A strong, thought-provoking and pragmatic leader, he has helped guide the Association through some of its most challenging issues. Supervisor Washington was recently elected to serve as CSAC’s 2nd Vice President.
Three retiring county administrators, with 90 years of county experience among them, were also honored with Circle of Service awards.
Robert Bendorf, Yuba County. After 15 years as County Administrator and a total of nearly 35 years with Yuba County, Mr. Bendorf retired earlier this year. During his tenure as a county administrator, he regularly utilized his knowledge and experience on statewide issues of importance to benefit all California Counties. Mr. Bendorf served on numerous state and local committees and commissions in the areas of including criminal justice and homelessness. His significant contributions to California Counties statewide included key roles in invaluable Association programs, including the CSAC Finance Corporation, CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government, and the annual CSAC Challenge Awards judging.
Sachi Hamai, Los Angeles County. For more than 30 years, Ms. Hamai served as a prominent leader representing California counties at both the state and national level. CSAC greatly benefitted from Ms. Hamai’s diligent partnership and collaboration on major county priorities to improve the lives of California’s most vulnerable populations, including In-Home Supportive Services and the homelessness crisis. As the CEO of California’s largest county – a position she recently retired from — her tireless efforts to work closely with and support elected officials and colleagues statewide enhanced the quality of life for all Californians.
George Johnson, Riverside County. Since 2017, Mr. Johnson has served as the County Executive Officer for Riverside County and has been a steadfast leader both locally and among his peers in the California Association of County Executives. As Director of the Riverside County Transportation and Land Management Agency from 2004 to 2012, he distinguished himself as a statewide and national leader on transportation and public works issues, serving in 2008 as the President of the County Engineers Association of California, CSAC’s Public Works affiliate organization. He played key roles on behalf of counties in federal transportation legislation and California’s Strategic Highway Safety Improvement Plan. Mr. Johnson is retiring at the end of the year.Five County Staff Members who have served beyond their county limits were also awarded Circle of Service honors.
Veronica A. Kelley, DSW, LCSW, San Bernardino County Behavioral Health Director. Director Kelley has been instrumental to CSAC in navigating and improving the use of Mental Health Services Act funding. She has also served on statewide advisory committees and as president of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association. Director Kelley has repeatedly testified on behalf of counties before the Legislature, and has worked to guide behavioral health policy toward integration of substance use disorder and mental health with a focus on health disparities.
Kristin Wievoda, Yolo County EMS Administrator. As a County Emergency Medical Services leader, Ms. Weivoda worked to bring counties together on contentious issues, including COVID-19 data gathering and policy issues with other public safety agencies. Her testimony and association work directly resulted in improvements to the legislation that preserved county EMS authority and protected patients.
Amy Bodek, Los Angeles County Director of Regional Planning. Since 2018, Director Bodek’s participation in CSAC’s housing and land-use working group has yielded important feedback on the potential impact of various bills on counties. Given the broad diversity of communities in unincorporated Los Angeles County, her perspective and experience have brought together both rural and urban perspectives to help advance policy on behalf of counties statewide.
Peter Maurer, Calaveras County Planning Director. For the last two years the Legislature has increased its focus on housing and land use issues. His willingness to provide the rural perspective on various housing and planning-related issues, spend hours reviewing individual legislative proposals, provide input on potential amendments, and highlight key issues relevant to small counties has informed CSAC’s policy advocacy through real world examples, saving rural counties statewide time and effort through improvements to proposed state legislation.
Leighann Moffitt, Sacramento County Planning Director. Director Moffitt has worked closely with CSAC to navigate complicated planning legislation. As president of the California County Planning Directors Association, Moffitt helped gather critical technical feedback on dozens of housing bills and a broad array of land-use planning issues.
This year’s Circle of Service Awards also recognized three CSAC team members for their unwavering dedication to County issues during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Darby Kernan, CSAC Deputy Executive Director for Legislative Services
- Farrah McDaid-Ting, CSAC Legislative Representative for Health Policy
- Jennifer Henning, CSAC Counsel and Executive Director of the County Counsels’ Association