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News Release —
Derek Johnson is New County Executive for Marin

Marin native, city manager of San Luis Obispo, to replace retiring Matthew Hymel
New County Executive, Derek Johnson, is pictured of the foreground of the Marin County Civic Center

Body of News Release

San Rafael, CA – Marin County native Derek Johnson, who has more than 25 years of local government management experience, has been named Marin’s County Executive, succeeding longstanding top administrator Matthew Hymel, who is retiring at the end of March. 

The Board of Supervisors is set to confirm the appointment at its next meeting on Tuesday, February 27. Johnson is scheduled to start in his new role April 29. In his role as County Executive, Johnson will lead efforts to advance the Supervisors’ objectives and strategic plans while overseeing the County’s $783 million budget and workforce of over 3,000 employees.

For the past 12 years, he has been with the City of San Luis Obispo, where he served as City Manager for six years, and previously as Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Development. Prior to that, he worked as the Director of the Office of Long-Range Planning in Santa Barbara County’s Planning and Development Department, and 10 years as General Manager of Parks and Recreation in Goleta, CA. 

Johnson’s accomplishments align well with the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ strategic plans. In San Luis Obispo, he played a key role in ensuring long-term financial stability, improving city operations’ efficiency, and securing new sources of revenue. He championed efforts to address homelessness, including implementing a Homeless Strategic Plan, opening a homeless services center, establishing the city’s first Mobile Crisis Unit, and securing $30 million in grants for additional supportive housing. He also oversaw various projects and successfully executed important policy initiatives, such as an Economic Strategic Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Johnson established essential collaborative relationships with San Luis Obispo County partners, facilitating concerted efforts to tackle regional concerns.

“Derek Johnson stood out among a very competitive candidate pool in that he had the right combination of experience, innovation, and enthusiasm to be the next leader of the County,” said Marin’s Board President Dennis Rodoni, the District 4 Supervisor. “The Board was impressed with his achievements in strategic areas of focus for Marin, including housing and homelessness, climate sustainability, disciplined fiscal management, capital improvements, and equitable services. The Board looks forward to working with him.” 

Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara and has certifications in mediation, project management, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He’s also active in his community, serving on many boards for nonprofit organizations. 

“Returning to Marin County, where my family roots run deep, and having the privilege to serve its residents, has been a lifelong aspiration,” Johnson said. “Public service has been a big part of my family history, and I am profoundly grateful for the trust and confidence bestowed upon me by President Rodoni and the Board. Leading the dedicated and talented team of employees committed to serving Marin County every day is an honor. I am eager to understand the ways to contribute to the County's well-being and fulfill the aspirations and needs of its residents.”

Hymel announced in summer 2023 that he intended to retire. Johnson was selected following an extensive nationwide search that began in November and resulted in 57 applicants. The candidate pool was narrowed to seven candidates who went through interviews with community and government leaders, County department heads, and multiple rounds with the Board. 

Dan Eilerman, Assistant County Executive, will serve as interim County Executive for approximately a month. Johnson’s annual salary will be $355,098 along with other benefits. 


Page updated February 28, 2024