The Board of Supervisors today unanimously appointed Luther Snoke as the County’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, lauding Snoke’s successful track record in a variety of County roles and departments and his diverse private-sector experience.
“Luther has played a key role in getting several important public service projects to the finish line,” said Third District Supervisor and Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe. “I’m looking forward to seeing how Luther performs in this leadership role while the Board determines how to fill the CEO position on a permanent basis.”
Snoke, who has served as the County’s Chief Operating Officer since October 2020, has been filling in for the former CEO since Aug. 8.
“Luther has demonstrated the ability to identify talented people and create teams who can solve complex problems and complete projects that had previously stalled for a variety of reasons,” Rowe said. “Having someone like Luther at the top of the County organization will give us an opportunity to expand and improve the services we provide to our residents.”
Snoke has been with San Bernardino County for 10 years, serving as the County’s Chief Operating Officer and as the interim director of Public Works, Land Use Services, and Special Districts. He has also served as a County Deputy Executive officer, Strategic Initiatives Chief, and administrative analyst.
“I am honored and humbled by the confidence the Board has placed in me,” Snoke said. “I am eager to work with the Board and our dedicated and talented departments and employees to continue elevating the level of service we provide to County residents.”
His leadership accomplishments include the long-needed completion of a new Lake Gregory Dam, the building of a new Big Bear Alpine Zoo, and construction of a new water system for Pioneertown.
“As a county we have an opportunity to continue making headway,” said Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez. “In having public and private executive experience, I am confident Luther has the skill and fortitude to immediately begin moving our County forward, which is what we need and our residents deserve.”
Before coming to San Bernardino County, Snoke served in the private sector for 15 years as vice president of finance for Hallmark Rehabilitation, director of financial operations and reimbursement for Skilled Healthcare, senior business analyst for Abaris Inc., and network administrator for Advance Storage Products.
“Government executives don’t often possess that combination of private- and public-sector experience,” said Fourth District Supervisor. “I have always believed government can greatly benefit from innovative, goal-oriented private-sector thinking. I believe Luther will get results during his time as Interim CEO.”
In San Bernardino County, the CEO supervises the more than three dozen county departments, offices and agencies that fall under the purview of the Board of Supervisors and ensures the implementation of Board polices and direction. The CEO must also work cooperatively with the departments led by countywide elected officials to lead the development of a sound County budget and help ensure the County organization is meeting the needs of County residents.
“Luther has developed a reputation as an effective and cooperative leader with a genuine compassion for both County employees and the more than 2.2 million people the County serves,” said Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr. “I’m looking forward to working with Luther in his capacity as Interim CEO and accomplishing great things for our communities.”
Hernandez resigns as County CEO; Snoke will continue filling in pending Board action
Leonard X. Hernandez resigned from the post of County Chief Executive Officer effective today. County Chief Operating Officer Luther Snoke has been filling in for Hernandez while Hernandez has been on leave and will continue to do so. The Board of Supervisors will act to appoint an interim or permanent CEO shortly.
“The Board of Supervisors appreciates the service Leonard provided to the public and the County organization, especially as we navigated our way through the pandemic and other very difficult challenges,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe.
Hernandez provided the following statement:
“It has been an extreme privilege to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of San Bernardino County. I am thankful to the Board of Supervisors for their leadership and the hard-working men and women who do amazing work every day. Due to an urgent family health issue that requires my immediate and undivided attention, I have informed the Board of my resignation. Under the strong leadership of the Board of Supervisors and the County’s executive team, the County will continue doing great things for the residents of San Bernardino County.”
“The Board of Supervisors is committed to a seamless transition in staff leadership with no interruption in County services or impact on County residents or employees,” Rowe said. “Luther has performed well filling in for Leonard and I am confident in his ability to continue serving in this role until the Board takes action.”
City of San Bernardino Names Nathan Freeman as Director of Community and Economic Development
The City of San Bernardino Announces Nathan Freeman as its new Director of Community and Economic Development. His starting date is May 16.
An experienced professional with almost 25 years working in economic development in the Inland Empire, Freeman comes to San Bernardino after spending the past sixteen years with the City of Riverside, where he served as the Economic Development, Redevelopment, and Real Property Services Manager.
“Nathan Freeman has extensive experience successfully negotiating major development agreements while at the same time creating opportunities for small businesses and startups,” said City Manager Robert Field. “He has played a critical role in the recent and upcoming development in downtown Riverside and is a great addition to the San Bernardino team.”
In the role of Director of Community and Economic Development, Freeman will oversee the functions, programs, and activities of the Planning Division, Building Division, Code Enforcement, Economic Development, and Housing.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside an amazing team in San Bernardino, under the leadership of the City Council and City Manager, who are dedicated to building a stronger and more economically resilient community,” said Freeman. “I’m truly excited about the City’s long-term potential and am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Community & Economic Development Department as we encourage job creation, business development, and a better quality of life for all residents.”
In Riverside, Freeman played a key role in major development projects, including the revitalization of downtown. He negotiated approximately $1 billion in private investment throughout Riverside, including the development of over 250,000 square feet of Class A office/commercial space, worked to attract many new businesses to the city, and facilitated the development of the Riverside Food Lab, the Inland Empire’s first urban food court.
Previously, Freeman served as Business Development Officer for the City of Hesperia and Economic Development Project Manager for the County of Riverside.
San Manuel Elects Lynn Valbuena as Chairwoman
Tribal Ceremony Ushers in New Tribal Council, Leadership
The newly elected Chairwoman and Tribal Council members of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians were sworn in today and now have begun their terms in office.
Lynn ‘Nay’ Valbuena begins her term as Chairwoman with a focus on serving her tribal community and continuing efforts to strengthen the Tribe’s Serrano culture, governmental sovereignty, and service obligations to San Manuel citizens.
For nearly 50 years, Chairwoman Valbuena has held numerous elected and appointed positions within San Manuel tribal government. Her role as the Tribe’s first housing commissioner set her on the path to leadership. She has held several officer positions on the Tribal Council, including Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chairwoman, and now her fifth term as Chairwoman. Valbuena also has a lifetime of service and leadership with regional, state, and national organizations, including the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), where she is currently serving her 27th year as Chairwoman.
Valbuena also served as Vice Chairwoman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Secretary for the National Indian Gaming Association, and delegate to the National Congress of American Indians. She previously served as a Trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian, which is a part of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. She continues her trusteeship for the Autry Museum, and Advisory Council Member for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California since the organization was founded more than 20 years ago.
“I express my deepest gratitude to all Tribal leaders and citizens for serving our people,” said Chairwoman Valbuena. “Chairman Ken Ramirez and Business Committee member Alexis Manzano have served our community with great effect, producing results that will benefit our Tribe.”
Latisha Casas was re-elected to the office of Treasurer for the Tribe. As Treasurer, her responsibilities include protecting the Tribe’s overall financial interests and establishing generational financial stability for the Tribe by way of strategy and oversight of treasury management, economic growth and investment portfolio. She begins her fifth term on the Tribal Council as Treasurer. Casas has also been a member of the Investment Board since it was established in 2008 and is Chairperson of the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority, the Tribal instrumentality that owns and operates the Palms Resort Casino.
Laurena Bolden was elected to her first term on the Tribal Council as a Member-at-Large. Bolden is a three-term member of the San Manuel Education Board and currently serves as its secretary. She is active in several other citizen-led planning groups, including the Cultural Advisory, and Reservation Masterplan Working Groups, which steer various development projects and cultural initiatives.
Continuing in their elected positions are Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez, Jr., Secretary Audrey Martinez, and Members-at-Large Edward Duro and Karina Torres.
The Tribal Council is the elected seven-member body that oversees the day-to-day operations on behalf of the General Council, the Tribe’s governing council that establishes policy and makes decisions on all significant matters on behalf of San Manuel.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is engaged in important relationships with other governments as well as partnerships with nonprofit organizations and community groups across its vast aboriginal territory that takes in the majority of present-day San Bernardino County.
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