The head of Riverside County’s transportation agency will serve as the interim CEO while a nationwide recruiting drive is conducted to find a permanent replacement, it was announced Wednesday.
Juan Perez, director of the county Transportation & Land Management Agency, was selected by the Board of Supervisors to take over from CEO George Johnson when he retires in December.
“I’ve worked with Juan for nearly 20 years and fully support the board’s decision to name him as interim county executive officer,” Johnson said. “Juan is a dedicated public servant, with strong leadership values and an incredible work ethic.”
Perez started as a county road engineer in 2001 and over the last two decades has gradually advanced into executive positions, all within the transportation sphere.
The appointment was decided during the board’s executive session Tuesday.
“Many thanks to Juan Perez for stepping up into the interim position,” said board Chairman Manuel Perez, who is not related to the TLMA director. “I also thank George Johnson for supporting him and the county in this transitional period.”
It is unknown how many more board meetings Johnson will attend between now and his official departure date of Dec. 16. Perez could begin exercising his duties at any time. He will not be applying for the permanent position, according to the Executive Office.
On Oct. 6, the board approved a $50,000 contract with a Sacramento-based recruiting firm to initiate a nationwide search for Johnson’s successor, who will be tasked with tackling what is expected to be a deficit in excess of $100 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year, stemming from the coronavirus public health lockdowns that have temporarily or permanently shuttered thousands of businesses in the region.