August 13, 2022
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Ventura County supervisors name interim CEO to permanent post

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In naming interim leader Sevet Johnson to the permanent post of County Executive Officer, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors has taken another step toward restoring stability after the abrupt departure of former CEO Mike Powers in April.

Sevet Johnson

Johnson, a clinical psychologist and former deputy head of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, was named interim CEO leader after Powers was placed on administrative leave and subsequently retired. The board voted unanimously on Aug. 2 to give her the top executive job on a permanent basis, after a nationwide search that included nearly 200 applicants.

The supervisors credited Johnson with providing continuity during the transition, and her term as interim was marked with little turnover in the top ranks of the county’s executive office.

She becomes the second woman and first Black leader of the a county government that has nearly 10,000 employees and a $2.7 billion annual operating budget.

Johnson’s salary has yet to be determined, and the board will consider her employment contract at a meeting on Sept. 13. As interim CEO, she was paid around $335,000 per year, about the same as Powers’ salary.

Powers spent 11 years as CEO. After his abrupt retirement, both Powers and the county were sued by an employee who claims Powers sexually and racially harassed her. The case is still pending in Ventura County Superior Court.