County Executive Ann Edwards has announced her retirement, effective Jan. 26, 2024.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve as County Executive for the last three years,” said Edwards. “My primary goals from the beginning were to provide stability to the organization, build trust within and outside the organization and transform the County’s organizational culture.
“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the incredible leadership team that has stood by my side throughout this journey. Together, we have tackled numerous challenges and worked tirelessly to make our county a better place for all its residents. Their efforts have not only made my tenure as County Executive successful but have also positively impacted the lives of countless individuals.
“I also extend my deepest gratitude to the Board of Supervisors for their trust and unwavering support throughout my tenure as County Executive. Serving this community has been an incredible journey, and it would not have been possible without the collaboration and dedication of these esteemed individuals.
“The Board of Supervisors has played a vital role in shaping our county's policies and initiatives, and their commitment to our shared vision for a better future has been truly inspiring.”
“Ann took on significant responsibilities during a critical period in our County’s history when she began her tenure in 2020,” said District 3 Supervisor and Board Chair Rich Desmond. “I speak on behalf of the entire Board when I say that Ann’s steady leadership and unwavering commitment to the well-being of the County’s organization and residents was instrumental in navigating the challenges we faced.”
The Board of Supervisors will announce the appointment of an interim/acting County Executive at a later date.
During Edwards’ tenure, she implemented a significant number of high-level organizational changes to improve the County’s overall functions in a number of key areas.
Beginning in early 2021, Edwards increased transparency and engagement in the 2021-22 budget process through several new public presentations, including public budget workshops and study sessions.
During the 2022-23 budget process, she proposed a Community Engagement Plan, adopted by the Board in June 2021, which identified priority areas of growth from advisory boards and commissions, local governments and community groups; engaged a professional public opinion polling firm to survey the public in the County’s budget priorities; and provided recommended budget priorities based on the outcomes of the resident survey.
In addition, the County developed a Budget in Brief summary, explaining in plain language budget basics and the budget process, as well as a Budget Explorer Tool that allows users access to the County’s budget, view total appropriations reimbursements and revenues by Agency, as well as the percentages for each Agency. FY 2022-23 and 2023-24 included significant contributions to General Fund Reserves, also known as the County’s “Rainy Day Fund.”
Under Edwards’ leadership, the County restructured its agencies and formed a new Public Safety and Justice Agency to ensure the most effective oversight, accountability, communication and coordination for justice-involved agencies in the County.
In July 2021, Edwards implemented the Organizational Culture Change Project in order to transform the County’s cultural expectations. The project included a survey in which all employees assessed the current culture, which provided a benchmark and insight for its desired culture.
Currently in the second phase of the Initiative, the County is offering a high-performance training curriculum to staff countywide and has launched a Guiding Coalition to keep the County’s Core Purpose, Vision, Mission and Core Values top of mind for staff throughout the year.
As part of the organizational transformation, Edwards launched an employee academy centered on skills, abilities, competencies, mentorship and attributes of leaders. The Leadership Development program supports the County’s goal to transform the organization’s culture and provide exemplary service to the community.
The resulting organizational transformation has borne out in positive ways. Most notably, Sacramento County recently made Forbes list of America’s Best Employers by State 2023
. Sacramento County’s position is at #79 in California, which includes public and private employers. The last time Sacramento County was on the list was at #357 in 2018 and dropped off the list entirely in 2019.
Before her work in the public sector, Edwards was the Clinical Director for the River Oak Center for children from 1997-98 and was an Executive Director, Program Coordinator and Clinician for seriously emotionally disturbed children and youths at Victor Treatment Centers from 1993-1997.
Prior to becoming County Executive in 2020, Edwards worked as Sacramento County’s Director of Human Assistance since 2014 and worked as the Director for Social Services for Solano County. Prior to Solano County, she worked for Sacramento County between 1998 and 2013, serving as Chief Deputy County Executive for Countywide Services, Director of Health and Human Services, Director of Mental Health Services, Division Manager for Adult Mental Health and Program Manager for Child and Family Mental Health.
“Together with the County’s 13,000 employees, it has been a privilege to serve people and watch our communities thrive,” said Edwards. “Now it’s time for me to take a step back, do some traveling and enjoy more time with my family, especially my three wonderful grandchildren.”