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Hiring Assistant Director of Human Resources County of Santa Barbara, California


The County

The County of Santa Barbara, with its spectacular natural setting and robust economy, has evolved into one of the most desirable places in the world to live, work and recreate. With more than 122 miles of scenic coastline, beautiful valleys, and rugged peaks cresting at 6,800 feet, Santa Barbara County spans a spectacular 2,774 square miles.

The County offers a paradise-like setting for tourists, vacationers, and more than 429,000 residents. The overall population has grown significantly in the last ten years with an estimated 142,000 residents living in unincorporated areas. Of the eight municipalities in the County, the cities of Santa Barbara and Santa Maria have the largest populations.

The County also includes the beautiful coastal communities of Summerland, Hope Ranch, Goleta, and Carpinteria, as well as the adjacent communities of Montecito and Isla Vista. With the County’s rich ethnic, historic and cultural diversity, residents and tourists alike enjoy museums, galleries, theater, opera, and notable events such as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Old Spanish Days and the world-renowned Orchid show. Other important County features include the Los Padres National Forest, substantial open space, three California missions, the Vandenberg Air Force Base, and an array of educational institutions including private schools, community colleges, and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The County seat and the main administrative office are in the City of Santa Barbara, located 92 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 332 miles south
of San Francisco. Santa Barbara County boasts strong economic bases in education, technology and agriculture, including an expanding vineyard industry. The City of Santa Barbara offers a vibrant downtown area with pedestrians, bicycles, and electric shuttles bringing life to outdoor cafes, theaters, shopping, and beautifully landscaped paseos.

To learn more about the County of Santa Barbara, please visit; for information on the region, please visit the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce website at

Renew ‘22

Renew ’22 is a multiyear strategic initiative to re-vision and transform Santa Barbara County government by the year 2022. Renew ’22 integrates initiatives designed to Re-VISION our Organization; RE-BALANCE our Resources; RE-DESIGN how we do our work; RESPOND to residents and customers with the highest quality of service within our means; RETAIN high-performing employees and prepare the next generation of leaders. Briefly stated, County managers and executives are working closely with employees to review all operations to determine how best to structure County government for the coming decades. Modeled on the concept of Essentialism (adapted from: leadership and business consultant Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less) those involved are asked to Explore, Eliminate, and Execute.

To say this is a time of change for the County of Santa Barbara would be a serious understatement. A better term might be “renaissance,” with excitement in the air as the County plans for its near – and long-term future. It has been said: “the best way to predict the future is to plan for it”. What an exciting time to become part of the County of Santa Barbara as it re-writes its plan for the future.

The Human Resources Department

The Human Resources Department is responsible for providing human resources services to the County’s workforce of over 4,000 employees spread through 22 County Departments. The current operating budget is $8.5 million with 25 full time equivalent positions.

The Department is currently organized into the following functional areas: Employee Benefits, Employee/Labor Relations, Recruiting, Classification and Compensation, Training and Development, Administrative Services and Position Control – but as part of Renew ’22 efforts, the new Assistant HR Director will be instrumental in rebranding these traditional functional areas to better ensure people success.

The Department also provides staff support to the Civil Service Commission, an appointed Board of five Commissioners. More than 90% of County employees are covered by Civil Service and represented by one of ten recognized employee organizations for the purposes of collective bargaining and other employment matters.

The Department is thick into the Renew ’22 initiative and is progressively working toward a “best idea wins” culture. The pace is quick and staff from all levels of the Department are encouraged to participate in the process. Done correctly, “change” can be hugely beneficial to not only the Human Resources Department, but also to the 4,000 plus County employees, their dependents, and the others impacted by their work. Renew ‘22 provides an unprecedented opportunity for County staff in general, and the new Assistant HR Director in particular, to have a significant and lasting impact on the delivery of public services in Santa Barbara County.

The Position

The Assistant Director of Human Resources is an at-will employee reporting to, and working closely with, the Director of Human Resources. This is a key leadership position serving as “second in command” to the Director, and may provide oversight to various functions within Human Resources.

As a County leader, the new Assistant Director will be expected to lead other managers and model behaviors that exemplify quality customer service; provide effective and ethical leadership; develop employees; and communicate and collaborate effectively at multiple levels.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will be a seasoned, strategic thinker with extensive knowledge of human resources fundamentals who also brings a global and cosmopolitan perspective to the role. The Human Resources Department operates as a cultural architect – building and shaping organizational culture in alignment with the County’s mission.

The new Assistant Director will:

  • be a forward thinking, proactive, progressive, and courageous leader willing to challenge the status quo and set a new standard of service delivery through ingenuity and innovation.
  • be an energetic and enthusiastic leader with the stamina to stay the course to see change efforts through to completion.
  • understand 21st Century human capital management and administration, labor laws and best practices.
  • embrace and promote change; understand the need to transform government to ensure organizational resiliency.
  • possess a high degree of emotional intelligence, and a demonstrated ability to employ different leadership approaches and work styles with employees to accomplish goals.
  • affect successful outcomes for the organization through the use of masterful leadership, collaboration, and a keen understanding of the organization.
  • have the ability to work closely with diverse groups to get things done.
  • be a creative and proactive problem solver.
  • be a steward of tax payer dollars and understand the fiduciary responsibilities of a public servant leader.

A traditional Human Resources professional will not do.


Opportunities and Challenges

As a painter looks at a new sheet of canvas, this position provides the selected candidate an opportunity to create the Human Resources department of the future. The new Assistant Director will be encouraged to truly “think out of the box”, challenge the “way its always been done” and try new concepts and experiment with new ways of accomplishing tasks, without fear of reprimand.

The Human Resources Department is in the throes of two exciting yet complex transformative initiatives that the new Assistant HR Director will help lead:

  1. Updating the 50 year old Civil Service Rules to reflect modern day recruitment processes and increase flexibility in the talent acquisition process.
  2. Working with Mercer Consulting, help to evaluate opportunities to centralize and consolidate core human resource services to increase efficiency and to optimize talent.

The minimum qualifications for education and experience can be met by having a Bachelor’s Degree in human resources, business administration, public administration, or related field and at least ten years of broad and extensive human resources experience as a supervisor, manager or equivalent. A Master’s Degree and public sector experience are highly desirable. PHR/SPHR Certifications are preferred and possession of a valid CA Class C driver’s license may be required.


Compensation and Benefits

The anticipated annual salary range for this position is $139,000-$156,000, commensurate with experience and qualifications, plus an annual auto allowance of $2,262. Santa Barbara County provides an excellent benefits package including:

  • Choice of dental and medical plans (with optional vision care). County contributes$8,592 per year toward employee’s premium.
  • Flexible spending plan, County paid Long Term Disability Insurance and Term Life Insurance.
  • Defined Benefit Retirement Plan administered by the Santa Barbara County Employees Retirement System.
  • Voluntary participation in a 457 Deferred Compensation Plan.
  • Sick leave of 12 days per year with 80 hours advanced upon hire, unlimited accumulation.
  • Holidays totaling 11 days per year.
  • Vacation leave from 12 to 25 days per year based on years of County employment, 40 hours advanced upon hire, with credit for previous public agency service toward accrual rate.
  • Eligible for Administrative Leave of up to 80 hours per year.
  • Alternative Transportation Benefit (TDM) of 0.62 additional vacation hours biweekly (about two days per year).

In addition, the County may provide reimbursement for reasonable relocation expenses, and, at the discretion of theCEO and Board of Supervisors, canprovide flexible relocation assistance, housing and student loan offsets, cash incentives, and/or vacation and sick leave pre-accruals in the interest of attracting the best talent to the organization.


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