Outgoing Chairman Curt Hagman (right) hands the gavel to new board chair Dawn Rowe.
Dawn Rowe elected chair of the board of supervisors
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, 3rd District Supervisor Dawn Rowe – who represents the mountain communities – was unanimously chosen by her fellow supervisors to serve as chair of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors for the next two years, succeeding 4th District Supervisor Curt Hagman.
First District Supervisor Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) was unanimously chosen to serve as board vice chairman, succeeding Rowe in that role.
“Over the next two years,” Rowe said, “I will work hard to strengthen our local economy, ensure that public safety remains a top priority and improve the quality of life for all San Bernardino County residents. I am grateful for this new opportunity and look forward to continuing my work as the supervisor for the 3rd District.”
“The board is in great hands,” Cook said.
The County Code calls for the board to elect a chair and vice chair at the first regular meeting of the board of supervisors in each odd-numbered year, and that the chair shall hold office for a two-year term. In this role, Rowe will preside over meetings of the board of supervisors, sign contracts approved by the board and work with the chief executive officer to set the board’s agendas.
“We have a great team up here and a lot to be proud of,” said 5th District Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. Speaking to Rowe, he said, “You do a great job being responsive to your district. I look forward to seeing that applied to the whole county.”
“I think we have an opportunity to do great things in our community,” said 2nd District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez.
Hagman has the rare distinction of having been chosen by his board colleagues to serve two consecutive terms as chairman. At the time of his reappointment, the board praised his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and chose to maintain consistent leadership.
“The outcome was that we grew together as a team,” Hagman said. “We responded so well together, and now we are set for the future.”
From his first day as chairman in 2019, Hagman championed innovation in public service through the use of the latest technologies as well as exploring fresh approaches to government processes in pursuit of better results and efficiencies.
On Hagman’s watch, the county won more than 250 state and national awards for leading other counties in service, innovation and efficiency. He created the Innovate 2020 program to spur county departments toward better solutions to consistent challenges. He also refocused and rebranded the county’s Information Services Department to the Innovation and Technology Department to emphasize its role in employing technology throughout the county organization to simplify and speed up the delivery of public services.
That spirit of innovation led to the creation of the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program, which provided cash grants to businesses struggling to meet state-imposed mandates. It led to San Bernardino County being one of the first counties in the state to offer the COVID-19 vaccine. And it led to the unique and innovative public-private partnership that turned surplus county-owned land in Ontario into Southern California’s first Topgolf location.
All three of those accomplishments received national awards.
Hagman led the county through the pandemic, assisting businesses and securing personal protective equipment for schools, nursing homes, small employers and others.
In the wake of civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, Hagman led the board in declaring racism a public health crisis, adding equity as an element of the Countywide Vision, and creating an Equity Element Group.
He also saw the county through four years of earthquakes, wildfires and floods.
“On behalf of the entire board, we have enjoyed your leadership,” Rowe said. “I appreciate you leading us through all that you did. You’ve set an example for all of us to follow.”