Santa Barbara County will get its first woman CEO when Chandra Wallar replaces Mike Brown on Nov. 1.
Wallar comes from San Diego County, where she has been deputy chief administrative officer and general manager over the Land Use and Environment Group since 1999 — experience that will come in handy in Santa Barbara County, where regional cooperation, land use and environmental issues are at the top of the political agenda.
In San Diego County, Wallar manages a staff of 1,550 and a $400 million budget. She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
“I am thrilled that Chandra has agreed to join the county of Santa Barbara and look forward to her leadership and innovation,” 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf in a Sept. 28 news release announcing Wallar’s hiring.
Wallar said in the release that she was looking to “develop innovative ways of streamlining and enhancing services for Santa Barbara County residents, businesses, and visitors.”
Brown is retiring after 13 years. When Wallar takes over, she will join Ventura County chief executive Marty Robinson among the growing ranks of women who run California’s counties. Robinson has been in office since 2008, when she replaced Johnnie Johnston.