Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, March 23 @ 4:05 p.m.

Del Norte CAO Jay Sarina Retires March 31; Assistant CEO Neal Lopez Will Take Over


Neal Lopez (bottom, middle) will take over as county administrative officer after Jay Sarina retires.

Before they officially appointed Neal Lopez to fill his shoes, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors thanked County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina for his service.

Sarina, who has worked for the county for about 30 years, the last 11 as county administrative officer, will retire on March 31.

“Jay Sarina has been just the top person,” said District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen. “He is a pleasure to work with because he is very truthful. There is nobody that has more dedication to this county and, I don’t want to take away from any of the department heads who have that same dedication, but there’s nobody who’s more dedicated in his efforts and I will certainly miss him as CAO.”

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-0-1 on a resolution making Lopez’s position as County Administrative Officer official. District 5 Supervisor Bob Berkowitz was absent.

Lopez has worked for the county for about 21 years as both the assistant county administrative officer and assistant auditor-controller. His position takes effect April 1.

“I’m excited about the opportunity and I appreciate the Board putting its confidence in me,” Lopez said. “After 21 years as an assistant department head in the auditor-controller’s office and the office of administration, I’m familiar with the local issues and challenges the county faces. I also know that after 21 years, the majority of challenges are not individual, which is why I feel fortunate to be part of a team surrounded with county employees and local partners that are all extremely talented and intelligent.”

Lopez also acknowledged his predecessor, saying he would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated employee than Sarina.

“He deserves his retirement, but he’s going to be missed,” Lopez said of Sarina.


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