Local News

Tuesday, Sep 18 2012 05:12 PM

New county Aging and Adult Services director appointed

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors, after a year and a half of delay, on Tuesday named Lito Morillo the director of the Kern County Aging and Adult Services Department.

Morillo was named the interim Director in March 2011 after prior director Kris Grasty retired.

But the county has been considering a plan to merge as many as 15 county departments. County Administrative Officer John Nilon has stated that holding interim director-level positions open could make the job of transitioning to a new structure easier.

"A third of our department heads are interim right now, " Nilon said in June. "If you were going to fundamentally change things, now is the time."

But many county leaders have pushed back against the idea in the months since and supervisors have indicated they aren't ready to do a sweeping alteration of the structure of county government.

Last month, Grasty urged supervisors not to place Aging and Adult Services into a mega-department with the Child Support Services, Veterans Services and Employers Training Resource departments.

She said the nutrition, care and support services that the department provides to seniors in Kern County would be weakened under an umbrella agency if a director saw those services as a lower priority.

Supervisor Zack Scrivner said Tuesday that during the board's last discussion of reorganizing county departments, it was clear that there was not support among a majority of supervisors to merge Aging and Adult Services with other county departments.

Morillo has a bachelor's of arts degree in public administration from Cal State Bakersfield and has worked for the county of Kern since 2001.

"I really look forward to the opportunity to build the infrastructure needed to help seniors" maintain their independence, he said.

Morillo will make an annual salary of $119,925 in his new position, including additional pays and a car allowance.

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