A homebody CAO

Butte County needs a leader in the mold of McIntosh, not Haddix

Brian Haddix, Butte County’s chief administrative officer, announced this week that he will be leaving his position March 24—just 17 months into the three-year contract he got from the Board of Supervisors for making the move from Tulare County.

Actually, he didn’t really move. His family remained in Fresno, where he spent weekends, and that’s where he’s returning. This, undoubtedly, is at least partly why he never wholly connected with the county or County Center.

Lesson learned: Make sure the person who’s running this place wants to live here. Haddix’s predecessor, Paul McIntosh, likes our environs so much that he kept his residence on the Ridge after taking a statewide post in Sacramento.

McIntosh should be the CAO model in another way. He served as a leader, putting a face on the county administration rather than hiding behind closed doors. Akin to Chico City Manager Dave Burkland, he made his presence felt in tangible ways without upstaging the elected officials to whom administrators answer.

Whether due to his performance or to circumstances, Haddix leaves Butte County with many of the same problems that existed when he arrived. There’s still no license for Oroville Dam. There’s still no resolution with the Mechoopda Indian Tribe. There’s still uncertainty with the budget.

The next CAO, thus, will face Herculean challenges. We encourage the Board of Supervisors to look for a candidate with charisma and vision rather than bring in another bureaucrat.