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    Santa Barbara County Announces Appointment of Community Services Director

    The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has approved the appointment of Jesús Armas as the incoming Community Services Department Director.  Armas’ selection comes after an extensive nationwide search to find the ideal candidate to succeed George Chapjian who will retire from the position in January 2024. Armas will assume his new role on January 22, 2024.

    Armas comes to the County with extensive leadership experience spanning a thirty-year tenure in the public and private sectors.  His twenty-year service to two Bay Area cities as a City Manager was distinguished by strategic leadership, where he fostered a collaborative and mission-driven work environment overseeing a staff of 1,000 ensuring services were delivered efficiently and cost-effectively.

    Armas served as the City Manager for the City of Hayward for 15 years making him the longest serving City Manager in Hayward’s history.  In this role, he developed and managed an operating budget totaling $181 million and was successful in developing and managing dozens of initiatives and projects.  Ranging from sustainability work in protecting the shoreline and open space; library and recreation services; and affordable housing and community development for lower and middle-income households. While in the City of Hayward, he also spearheaded the development of downtown vacant properties into a vibrant, mixed-use, transit-oriented development with over 1,000 new residential units.

    Regarding his appointment, Armas stated, “I am excited and honored to be joining Santa Barbara County.  I am passionate about public service, having served in local government for over three decades. Building on this experience, I am eager to continue and enhance the work already underway in addressing such vital and pressing community issues as homelessness and affordable housing and environmental sustainability. In addition, I welcome the opportunity to focus on important quality of life services such as county parks, arts, cultural events, and library funding.”

    County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, expressed her confidence in Armas, saying, “Jesús Armas’ extensive experience in both the public and private sector will bring invaluable leadership to our County.  His deep and broad knowledge of all facets of local government and his skill at addressing complex and challenging community issues will be a huge asset for County government. He has the know-how to get things done while effectively engaging with residents, community partners, and other local governments.”

    “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jesús Armas as our new Community Services Director. His proven track record, and commitment to community benefit, positions him well to build upon the outstanding legacy left by Director George Chapjian,” said Board Chair and First District Supervisor Das Williams.

    George Chapjian has served as the Community Services Director for the County for the past eight years.  His service is highlighted by championing efforts to bring Community Choice Energy to our region and establishing the Tri-County Regional Energy Network; increasing access to outdoor parks and recreation opportunities; and bringing unprecedented levels of Federal, State and local funding to address the affordable housing crisis and homelessness.

    Miyasato added, “George has been such a vital component to so many of our County programs that are thriving today.  He has helped connect people to opportunities that range from helping move people from the streets and into housing, to encouraging our youth to get outside and enjoy our parks and recreation.  The programs started under his leadership will positively impact our county for years to come.”

    The Community Services Department is committed to providing quality services and facilities that meet the needs of the Santa Barbara County Community.  The department includes divisions for Housing and Community Development; Parks; Office of Arts and Culture; and Sustainability.  It also oversees several commissions, including the Park Commission, the Commission for Women, and the County Library Advisory Committee.

    For information about the Santa Barbara County Community Services Department, go to Community Services | Santa Barbara County, CA – Official Website (countyofsb.org) 



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