Monterey CAO to Retire at Year’s End

Monterey County Administrative Officer Charles McKee will retire at the end of the year. The announcement caps off 31 years in public service, 19 years with Monterey, and three years as its chief executive.

“From a very early age, McKee was intrigued by government, politics and the interplay with the economy,” according to the county. “Early in his studies he was focused on the national and international stage, however, after law school, he realized that making a difference in people’s lives is best achieved at the local level.

“McKee’s dedication and tireless energy resulted in the County’s full court press response to local emergencies, including wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as strong fiscal management of the resources entrusted to the County, so that no layoffs occurred during the pandemic, the budgets were balanced, and agreements successfully negotiated with labor unions. He also led change efforts including stabilizing health insurance funding, the separation of the Resource Management Agency into 2 separate departments and the groundwork for healthcare service alignment with Natividad Hospital and the Health Department. McKee’s legacy leaves a lasting impact on the over 5,000 county employees, and this number doesn’t include the extended County family who were also impacted through his efforts, compassion and leadership."

McKee served as Monterey County Counsel from 2003 to 2019, when he was appointed chief administrator. He had previously worked for the counties of Nevada and Marin. 

“I am proud of what we have accomplished as a team on behalf of our residents, businesses, stakeholders, and employees as we pursue the interests and equity for all in our diverse county,” McKee said. “I am convinced that the County of Monterey will continue to be an increasingly strong force in providing professional, vital services and will bring innovative and enterprising approaches to local government."

County supervisors praised McKee as a steadfast leader who left Monterey stronger than when he found it. They wished him well and said he would be greatly missed.

At the board’s request, McKee is staying on until Dec. 31. He had initially planned to leave in October. A search for his replacement is underway.