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Monica Nino, who for the past seven years has been the San Joaquin County Administrator, will become Contra Costa County’s next top executive, with her formal appointment scheduled for Dec. 8.

Nino will be Contra Costa’s first female county administrator, as well as its first Hispanic lead executive.

She will succeed David Twa, who earlier this year announced his retirement. He has been Contra Costa’s county administrator since June 2008; his last day on that job is Dec. 15.

Contra Costa Supervisor Candace Andersen said Tuesday that Nino’s financial expertise in dealing with the economic pressures of COVID-19 treatment and care, and specifically relating to that county’s San Joaquin General Hospital outside Stockton, was a key reason she was selected over two other finalists interviewed over the past several weeks.

Contra Costa County has a larger health system, with the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez its flagship.

“(Nino) was ready for a new challenge, a bigger challenge,” Andersen said. “Contra Costa has a much larger health system than San Joaquin, but the general issues, including the financial structures, are similar. She’s a financial person, and that’s really a crucial function in this position.”

Seasoned administrator

Before going to San Joaquin County, Nino spent more than 20 years in several positions with Stanislaus County, starting as an accountant with the auditor-controller’s office and eventually becoming the county’s chief executive officer in 2012. She served about a year and a half in that post before becoming San Joaquin County’s administrator in 2013.

In an email Tuesday, Nino said both San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties operate county hospitals and behavioral health systems, and that her experience in both counties will help Contra Costa.

“Contra Costa County has been in the forefront of protecting and being proactive with the community in dealing with the virus,” Nino said. “In San Joaquin, we did not see the numbers as soon as the Bay Area did, so it gave us some time to prepare.

“I have always been one to look at what the Bay Area counties are doing from a best-practice perspective,” Nino added. “None of us can afford during this time to reinvent the wheel, but remaining flexible to improve on what we are doing is always an option.”

She said she also has experience in overseeing county employee retirement systems, and their funding.

Andersen said Nino’s good working relationships with the county supervisors in San Joaquin and Stanislaus were also a strong selling point for the Contra Costa supervisors.

Hand-picked successor

Nino comes recommended by Twa, Anderson said. Twa and Nino have worked together since her days in Stanislaus County on regional issues, and Andersen said those two will continue to work together, at least for a little while.

“Whether it was (Twa’s) approach to labor relations, hospital service delivery and funding or participating with him at the state level on funding options for realigned public safety programs … I am familiar with some of the challenges and opportunities facing Contra Costa County,” Nino said.

Twa, Andersen said, will stay with the county post-retirement, helping Nino and other county officials deal with redistricting — new Congressional, state Senate, state Assembly and state Board of Equalization districts that figure to change based on information gathered in the 2020 Census.

Twa figures to work remotely sometimes from Minnesota and sometimes in Contra Costa, Andersen said.