A new administrator took the helm Thursday at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, saying she takes the agency’s “mission seriously” and looks forward to working to serve the public.

Erin Gettis, who most recently was assistant director for the county’s Park & Open Space District, took over the top spot left vacant by the departure of Julie Bank, the department’s director for less than two years.

There was no immediate word on why or how the position was vacated.

“The team at animal services truly believes in our mission `Working Together to Improve Riverside County for People and Animals,”’ Gettis said.

“I take this mission seriously, too, and appreciate the spirit of togetherness and the act of serving county citizens. The work isn’t always easy, but that is what public service is — doing those hard jobs to the best of our ability for the community.”

Gettis worked three decades in various positions connected to parks, planning and architecture, both in Riverside County and her previous home in the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to her job in the Park & Open Space District, she was a division manager for Riverside’s Neighborhood Engagement Division, as well as a planner in the Community & Economic Development Department, according to county officials.

Gettis is a pet lover and has adopted dogs from rescue organizations. She said that her down time includes hiking with the dogs and her family in the mountains.

“Erin is an exceptional and thoughtful leader,” county Parks Director Kyla Brown said. “She has helped RivCoParks advance challenging projects and built wonderful relationships along the way.

“We will miss Erin, but are excited to work with her in this new capacity. I have no doubt she will do amazing things for animal services.”

The Department of Animal Services has struggled for more than a decade with financial challenges, ending multiple years with red ink on its budget, though the current fiscal year showed improvements.

The agency was forced to close its San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus in the 2019-20 fiscal year due to monetary constraints.

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