Jim Leddy takes the reins as Mono County’s top manager

Administrative officer started June 10

Mono County’s new top administrator is a man in a hurry to get to work.

Jim Leddy, the county’s new administrative officer (CAO), started his new job on Monday, June 10, and said in a recent interview that his worst habit is probably that he doesn’t know when to stop working.

“I have a bad work-to-life ratio,” he said. “I love this kind of work, I get excited by it. I love solving problems, but I have two young sons (twins Logan and John, 11 years old) and as they are getting older, I am learning again that I need to have a better balance between work and the rest of my life, and to be sensitive to the people around me for this, too.”

Leddy, 45, comes to Mono County from Sonoma County, where he was the Deputy County Administrator/Community Affairs Manager.

He said he has a long-standing love affair with the Eastern Sierra. He said the climate, the isolation, the lack of urban amenities that has driven many Mono County employees out of the area is an asset, not a liability.

“I have 11-year-old sons, they can shovel,” he said with a laugh. “I love the redwoods, I grew up in them, but I am not an ocean person. I’m a mountain person and the mountains are where my family and I go whenever we get a chance.

“There is a combination of a sense of community here and of rugged individualism that I really like,” he said.

He is joined in Mono County by his wife of 15 years, Kathy Hayes.

Working as a deputy county administrator in a much larger county with about 4,000 employees, as compared to Mono County’s 325, cannot be compared to his new role. The move to Mono County is a clear promotion, according to Leddy.

“It’s the difference between being a captain on a big ship and being the captain of a small ship,” he said.

Leddy was hand-picked by the five Mono County Supervisors after the brief and tumultuous reign of former CAO Jim Arkens left behind a county organization both fragmented and demoralized, according to many county employees.

It’s a tall order to fill, to change this, but Leddy said he is looking forward to the challenge.

One of the other primary reasons he took the job was because he was impressed with the goals and philosophy of the county supervisors.

“They are doing what is called ‘strategic planning,’ something not many counties are doing,” he said. “I love this kind of thinking, this kind of policy making. It’s looking ahead, not just responding to the crisis of the day, and planning for the long-term future of the county. Counties, like people, tend to get caught up with the momentary issues.”

“Often, when counties say they are doing strategic planning, they are really doing tactical planning. This board gets it, and it’s cutting edge stuff.”

He said solving problems is what he takes joy in. He said his best asset is his ability to understand where people are coming from and then come up with policy ideas that will solve those problems.

“I’m affable, I’m friendly, but that does not mean I’m not strong about getting things done,” he said.