Santa Barbara County Appoints New Human Resources Director
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors today approved the selection of Lori Gentles as the next Director of Human Resources, a position that oversees human resource functions for the County’s workforce of over 4,000 employees.
Gentles has served in the California State University system since 2008 as the Vice President at California State University, Fullerton for the last two years and as Associate Vice President at San Francisco State University for the prior five years, overseeing human resources functions for both organizations. Before that, she worked for the County of Contra Costa for four years, first as Assistant Human Resources Director and then as Assistant County Administrator/Human Resources Director. Prior to her time in California, Gentles served as the Deputy Personnel Director of the City of Phoenix and Human Resources Director for the City of Mesa, Arizona.
“I look forward to returning to county government, working with my new esteemed colleagues and the board of supervisors to ensure that our support services are first tier and meet the growing needs of county employees and residents,” said Gentles.
In her 15 plus years of strategic HR leadership roles, Gentles’ accomplishments include implementing digital self-service initiatives, such as e-recruiting, increasing efficiencies through consolidating redundant functions and identifying cost containment strategies to maximize resources, implementing reward and recognition programs to enhance employee engagement, developing inclusive recruitment and retention programs, overseeing succession planning initiatives, and successfully negotiating union concessions during the recession.
“We are excited that Ms. Gentles will be joining our team,” said County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato. “Her strategic thinking, focus on improving customer service and knowledge of the human resources profession will help us become a more responsive and effective organization.”
Gentles holds a Master’s of Business Administration from St. Mary’s College and Bachelor of Arts from Arizona State University.
Gentles first day will be January 11, 2016. She succeeds Jeri Muth as the County of Santa Barbara Human Resources Director, who retired at the end of October. Bob MacLeod, the County’s Chief of Employee Relations, is serving as the Interim Director until Gentles begins.
The County of Santa Barbara Human Resources department is responsible for labor negotiations, employee relations, civil service compliance, employee benefits, classification and compensation studies, and workforce planning. Recruitment is decentralized, conducted mostly by Human Resources, but also by some County departments. The department has 26 employees and a budget of $5.1 million.