El Dorado County dismisses Schaeffer as HHSA director

Eric Jaramishian / Mountain Democrat
Evelyn Schaeffer

El Dorado County dismissed newly appointed Health and Human Services Agency Director Evelyn Schaeffer from her position Dec. 6, leaving the county without a director for the second time in 2022.

Without citing reason, County Counsel David Livingston reported the action during the Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting after closed session. 

Former director Don Semon stepped down from the Health and Human Services Agency post in April. He “voluntarily resigned,” according to a response from the county at the time. Schaeffer subsequently came out on top during the recruitment process that considered 28 applicants. Her annual salary was listed at $216,000 and she was paid $5,860 in moving expenses, according to county records.

Deputy Director Daniel Del Monte stepped in as interim director before Schaeffer filled the role Sept. 24. 

In an email to the Mountain Democrat Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton notes county officials do not comment on personnel matters but the Board of Supervisors’ vote went unanimous to relieve Schaeffer of her position. 

The county will engage in a recruitment effort to fill the position as quickly as possible, according to Ashton. An internal, interim director is expected to be selected at the next Board of Supervisors meeting Dec. 13.

Ashton added that Del Monte left the county for another job in November.

Regarding losing two directors in a year, Ashton shares that the county conceptually approved two separate divisions within the Health and Human Services Agency to make services more manageable for staff. The county hopes to hire two department directors, according to Ashton.

“The board’s prioritization of the new navigation center for the homeless has reduced the momentum behind the reorganization,” Ashton states. 

In 2013 Ashton was appointed HHSA director, serving three years before becoming CAO. Then in 2016 Patricia Charles-Heather took over for another three-year stint before leaving the state. Don Semon followed as the next HHSA director but also resigned after nearly three years. 

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