Sonia De La Rosa

Sonia De La Rosa in the Monterey County Board of Supervisors chambers on Tuesday, Dec. 13, where the board unanimously voted to hire her as the new county administrative officer.

Monterey County's new top staffer, Sonia De La Rosa, is returning home. 

That was the theme of remarks on Tuesday, Dec. 13 by all five county supervisors before casting their unanimous vote to hire De La Rosa as the next county administrative officer (CAO). A Monterey County native who remembers working in agricultural fields as a child, she is returning after 24 years working for Fresno County, most recently as deputy county administrative officer. 

"I came here a few years ago and presented on homelessness," De La Rosa said. "It was then that I realized how much I missed home."

Supervisor Luis Alejo echoed that in his comments: "This is kind of a homecoming," he said. 

This is also a historic moment for Monterey County leadership. De La Rosa will be the first Latina ever to serve as CAO, and the second woman. 

She will replace Charles McKee, who is set to retire on Dec. 30 after 20 years with the county. 

De La Rosa will start on Jan. 9. For the period in between, the board also voted on Dec. 13 to appoint Assistant CAO Nick Chiulos as acting CAO.

“I think that’s a great move by the board, to have a smooth transition,” McKee said. 

About De La Rosa, he added: "She’s going to be able to build off what we have here. I’m confident she’s going to take it to the next level and just soar."

De La Rosa said, "My goal is to give back as much as I can for as many years as I can."

Her salary will be $261,800 annually, and she will receive $10,000 in moving expenses. 

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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