Yuma County has a new chief deputy county administrator, a position that has been dormant for the last few years.
Paul Melcher is formally stepping into the new role the week of Oct. 27. This gives him time to wind down his current duties.
County Administrator Robert Pickels announced Melcher's new position to the Yuma County Board of Supervisors during Monday’s regular session.
Pickels noted that choosing the right candidate proved difficult to do “in light of the strength of the applicants interviewed."
Melcher stood out because of his background and “breadth of knowledge,” he said.
“Paul surfaced through a pretty tough recruitment process because of his local government experience,” Pickels said. “He knows east county, he knows south county.”
Melcher has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Arizona University and certification in management and utility management.
He has more than 15 years of planning experience. Previously, he served as the county planning director since 2008. Prior to that, he was a transportation planner and chief financial officer for Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization, a county planner and the assistant city administrator and parks director for the City of San Luis.
“Having that background, he’s ready to hit the ground running,” Pickels said.
Melcher's job responsibilities will focus on monitoring and analyzing the county's strategic direction; measuring program performance and efficiency; and working with the public and local legislatures to provide the "highest levels of governmental performance and transparency," according to a news release.
He will provide executive-level support to the county administrator and the supervisors and serve as the chief administrative officer in Pickels’ absence.
Melcher will also assist in coordinating the county's legislation efforts, policy issues and financial analysis.
Melcher said he is looking forward to his new responsibilities.
“I’m excited to be working with Robert and the board. I've always had it in my professional plan to get back into administration,” he said.
While the position of chief deputy county administrator is not new, it has been “revised,” Pickels said.
“It’s been held dormant for a couple of years and only filled a couple of times during my 10 years as administrator. The board of supervisors wanted to revive it in my support, to help me avoid the fatigue factor involved with this job,” he explained.
Having a deputy will allow him to pursue other opportunities, such as participation in external and partner organizations, which he currently can’t do due to lack of time.
“I’m excited. I know he’ll be a good fit. And there’s a comfort level for the staff knowing who it is, that they won’t have to adjust to someone new,” Pickels added.
As for the position of planning director, it's not clear whether it will be filled or “reorganized,” he said. “We’ll analyze it and see what’s best looking forward.”
He thanked “all of the talented individuals that submitted applications and to the interview panel that invested their time in helping to select the most appropriate candidate."
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or (928) 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.