resigned Thursday, and the Board of Supervisors appointed its
finance director to the role until Tuesday when a closed-door
meeting is scheduled to revisit the decision on a permanent
San Benito County’s top administrator Terrence May abruptly resigned Thursday, and the Board of Supervisors appointed its finance director to the role until Tuesday when a closed-door meeting is scheduled to revisit the decision on a permanent replacement.
May, who succeeded former County Administrative Officer Gil Solorio earlier this year, “verbally resigned” Thursday morning for unspecified reasons, according to personnel director Liz Brown.
“I don’t know if there were dynamics behind it or not,” Brown said of his sudden resignation.
May did not return phone calls placed to his house in Newman.
His departure comes as the county is dealing with a $4 million budget shortfall and days after May announced the county owes the state $4.3 million for wrongly audited property tax revenues.
The board announced May’s resignation and its appointment of Finance Director Dan Vrtis to the job after a closed session meeting Friday afternoon. But it’s unclear whether Vrtis will occupy the role after Tuesday’s meeting.
“The board simply accepted Terrence May’s resignation,” Supervisor Reb Monaco said, and declined to comment further.
Supervisor Ruth Kesler said supervisors are “going to think about it over the weekend,” but that the board made no final decision on the next CAO. Bringing Solorio back would be her first choice, but she doesn’t think he would be willing, she said.
“He’s a finance guy,” she said of Vrtis, “and he should be all right, for awhile anyway.”
Supervisors Bob Cruz, Pat Loe and Richard Scagliotti did not immediately return phone calls.
Vrtis confirmed he applied for the job when May got the necessary board votes in January. Vrtis, despite uncertainty about the job beyond Tuesday, expressed confidence he could handle the role, especially during the current budget crunch.
“I definitely want to help the county in any way I can,” Vrtis said Friday after learning of his temporary appointment. “We’ve got to get working on our budget.”
San Benito County faces a potential shortfall in the millions. And a board subcommittee has recommended an array of cuts to soften the blow to the county’s reserves.
Vrtis mentioned the budget process had been somewhat “neglected” in the past couple of weeks. There was uncertainty among department heads on the budget’s direction, he said.
“People need to know what’s going on next,” said Vrtis, who has 32 years of county government experience.
May has worked on and off with San Benito County since the 1980s, according to John Hodges, who serves in the roles of auditor, clerk and recorder. May joined the county most recently in 1995, according to personnel records. And he served as a deputy CAO until Solorio resigned in January.
As the CAO, May earned $132,000 a year and had a potential to make $169,000. Vrtis earns $94,000 as the finance director/assistant auditor. It is unclear whether he would receive a pay raise if his appointment as CAO stands Tuesday.
Vrtis joined San Benito in 2001 after a brief stint in Calaveras County. He also spent 11 years in Santa Barbara, nine in San Mateo and five in Los Angeles, he said.
Although Hodges believes Vrtis is highly qualified for the job, he also said the county will miss May.
“He was an excellent administrator, and he was really easy to get along with,” Hodges said. “And he’s a real bright person.”