Jim Arken, Mono County’s human resources director for the past year, will serve as the county’s interim administrative officer (CAO) until a new CAO can be found, following the departure of Mono County CAO Dave Wilbrecht in early June.
Arken, 58, was chosen by the county board of supervisors over the past week and a half and his contract to serve as both the interim CAO and the human resources director was approved unanimously Tuesday.
He will serve alongside current CAO Dave Wilbrecht until Wilbrecht takes his new job as the Town manager for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
Arken has served at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, New Mexico as Human Resources Director, Has also served as a CAO/Human Resoources Director for Shawano County, Wisconsin and has more than 30 years total experience in government and administrative jobs.
He has been employed at Mono County as an HR Director since May 3, 2010.
District 1 Supervisor Byng Hunt said the county is lucky to have Arken.
“When we were looking at a list, he jumped right to the top,” he said. “He’s been Dave’s right-hand man in many of the decisions over the past year and he has shown himself to be a highly competent employee with many, many years of experience in city and county government, as well as in the private sector.”
Hunt said that it is possible that Arken could become the county’s permanent CAO, should things work out.
“He’s definitely committed to the area and he is already up to speed on county issues and politics, so that is definitely an option, should things go that way,” he said.
Hunt noted that Finance Director Brian Muir was another possible choice, but Hunt said Muir’s position is too critical to the county to lose right now.
The county will combine the positions of HR director and CAO into one position for Arken, saving about $16,000 a month, another boon to the county during this time of belt tightening, Hunt said.
Arken lives in Bridgeport.