NEW CHAPTER: Outgoing assistant county executive officer Terri Maus-Nisich (center) was recognized Monday by Assemblymember Gregg Hart (center left) with the 2023 California Woman Making Herstory award. | Credit: Courtesy Gregg Hart

Behind the scenes, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, where the county supervisors and their assistants live, as Terri Maus-Nisich officially bowed out after 20 years as assistant county executive officer. Maus-Nisich is far from a household name, but for those who knew her, she was the go-to, get-it-done person to whom various county administrators assigned all their most Mission Impossible assignments. Her boss, County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, gave Maus-Nisich a rousingly warm send-off Tuesday, describing her as “a walking and talking directory of where to look, to whom to go, and what to try in different situations.” 

When there were rocks to be immediately removed from Goleta Beach; a mental-health department to be reformed and reorganized; a COVID pandemic to be responded to; three recessions to be weathered; and dozens of fires, floods, and other disasters to be survived, Miyasato said, Maus-Nisich was the one to call. Were it not for Maus-Nisich, the downtown DignityMoves village of tiny homes for the most vulnerable of homeless people would never have been built. And Maus-Nisich managed to do all this, Miyasato exclaimed, “all while wearing a fabulous pair of shoes and sharing the location for the best cocktail in town.” 

Maus-Nisich will be succeeded by Tanja Heitman, former county probation czar, highly regarded for her administrative chops, diplomatic acumen, and innovative thinking. Maus-Nisich was one of nine long-term county employees who were honored by the supervisors for their years of “faithful and dedicated service” as they stepped down and walked out the door. Combined, they represent 204 years of work experience and institutional memory.Supervisor Das Williams said the mass exodus could be seen as both depressing and inspiring. March, it turns out, is the best month to retire for county employees hoping to maximize their retirement benefits.


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