San Juan County hires new county manager

Submitted by San Juan County

San Juan County Council is pleased to announce the hiring of a new County Manager – Jessica Hudson. Hudson is currently the Director at Fairfax County Public Library in Fairfax, Virginia where she oversees a system of 23 public facilities, a budget of $35 million, and 550 staff. In this role, she has developed and administered strategic plans, initiated public service operation expansions, uplifted underrepresented communities through programs and services, and supported a capital renovation budget of more than $90 million.

Hudson shared, “I’m absolutely thrilled to join San Juan County government and to become a part of this amazing community. There is so much good work to be done and I can’t wait to dig in. Accepting this position and joining this organization is an honor and I look forward to serving.”

With a tentative start date of July 15, Hudson will be responsible for serving as a staff liaison to the Council, overseeing County department operations, managing the budget, and more.

“I know I speak for the County Council when I say that we’re thrilled to have Jessica join our team,” said Council Chair Jane Fuller. “Not only will her vast professional experience working with local government in different jurisdictions serve the County well, but her community-minded spirit will be an asset to our work on all the islands. She is well poised to lead San Juan County in navigating current and future challenges that we face, building relationships along the way, and enhancing our quality of life in the islands for years to come.”

Hudson has a bachelor’s degree in Finance, a master’s in Library Science, and a master’s in Public Administration, as well as completing a fellowship in County Senior Executive Leadership from the California State Association of Counties. Her career in local government has spanned more than twenty years, the last fourteen at the Director level in public libraries. Hudson and her husband are planning to move to San Juan Island with their young child, where they are excited about the opportunity to raise their daughter in a beautiful, natural setting. In her spare time, Hudson enjoys gardening (particularly vegetables and natives), volunteering with nonprofits supporting animals and ecology, and hiking. She’s looking forward to getting involved locally and integrating into the island community.

Hiring Process Recap:

The County’s core hiring committee consisted of the Human Resources Director, Interim County Manager, County Council and the recruitment firm Strategic Government Resources (SGR). The job posting yielded 39 applicants from around the country that were screened and vetted via resume reviews, video interviews, and written responses.

After a thorough interview process, three finalists were invited to San Juan County for in-person interviews. Finalists were interviewed by three County panels and by members of the public via a moderated Q&A in each district. The community meetings were held at the San Juan Island Grange, the Lopez Island Family Resource Center, and the Orcas Center.

As the ultimate hiring body for the County Manager position, the County Council deliberated during a closed session on May 14, and selected Jessica Hudson. An offer letter was sent and accepted shortly after.