Carlos Palacios Promoted to Santa Cruz CAO

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has appointed a new Administrative Officer to replace Susan Mauriello, who is retiring next month. Carlos Palacios, 55, will be sworn in Tuesday, becoming the first Latino CAO in Santa Cruz County’s history at an annual salary of $263,057.

Palacios has served as assistant CAO since 2015. For 19 years prior, he worked as city manager in Watsonville.

Palacios was one of 25 applicants for the job. The field was narrowed down to six, but Palacios’ familiarity with Santa Cruz County government made him a shoe-in. During his time as Assistant CAO, he has been credited with the establishment of the homeless coordinator position, the Economic Development Division, and the Cannabis Licensing Division. He also spearheaded negotiations for a joint powers authority agreement for Monterey Bay Community Power.

“Because he’s well aware of our budget, of our department heads, of our systems here — he can work to make a change,” said Board Chairman John Leopold. “When you have someone for 28 years, as great as they were, we should expect a change of culture.”

Read more about Santa Cruz’s new CAO and his top priorities for the county here


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