County leaders appoint Mendez to serve as CEO over departments

Raul Mendez

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday morning, the Board of Supervisors appointed Raul Lomeli Mendez to serve as Merced County’s next County Executive Officer (CEO).

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve this community and bring 20-plus years of experience in local government with me to see how we can provide better services, respond to needs, and continue the good work that obviously Mr. Brown and the rest of the team has put Merced County on,” Mendez said after the decision.

Mendez will replace current CEO James L. Brown, who is retiring in early 2022 after nearly 32 years of service to the local government and the community.

In his new role, Mendez will be expected to take on full responsibility for the total operation of all county departments based on general directives provided by the elected supervisors who hired him.

“This is probably one of our biggest decisions we have ever made here with this board,” said Daron McDaniel, the board chair, before the vote. “This board has done a pretty good job working together, so I’m confident in the decision we are going to make right now.”

Supervisor Lloyd Pareira agreed, describing the decision as “monumental.”

Mendez currently serves as the assistant CEO of Stanislaus County. He was considered the top candidate following an extensive recruitment process that started last summer. He is expected to begin on Jan. 10, and will work with CEO Brown until his retirement on Feb. 27.

Mendez’s career spans several sectors of public service. He began his career in 1996 with the City of San Jose in the City Manager’s Office, and eventually the Department of Housing. In 2001, he was hired by Stanislaus County as a senior management consultant with the CEO’s Office. In 2013, he left Stanislaus County after accepting the position of city manager in Hughson, where he focused on maintaining a strong fiscal position for the city, improving water and road infrastructure, and advancing collaborative relationships with key community and governmental partners. He returned to Stanislaus County as an assistant executive officer in 2020.

“One of the roles I had with Stanislaus County was really learning about the entire community,” Mendez told the board members. “I grew up in Stanislaus County and probably only knew a fraction of the communities that existed there. It wasn’t until I started working with the County of Stanislaus when I had an opportunity to go out and meet with individuals, and really try to learn and listen as to what their needs are, and how we, as local government, can provide services and respond to those needs and try to address them to the best of our abilities with the available resources.”

Mendez has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Stanislaus State as well as a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.

Mendez will be Merced County’s seventh CEO, a position that started back in 1956 with Andy Murphy, and then continued with the appointments of Clark Channing, Greg Wellman, Dee Tatum, Larry Combs, and the current CEO Jim Brown.

MercedMerced County Board of Supervisors
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