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New Monterey County social services, library directors take over

By Jim Johnson
The Monterey County Herald, August 12, 2019

SALINAS ó Two new top administrators with area ties took the reins in key county departments last week, replacing popular longtime county officials.

Both new county Department of Social Services Director Lori Medina and new Monterey County Free Libraries Director Hilary Theyer started work on Aug. 5.

Medina, who had served as county Childrenís and Family Services deputy director since 2016, takes over for Elliott Robinson, who retired a year ago after 17 years as DSS director. Theyer replaces Jayanti Addleman, who served as the county Free Libraries system director for 14 years until leaving in January to become the city of Haywardís director of library services.

Robinson was originally replaced by acting director Henry Espinosa, who chose not to seek the permanent position and retired earlier this month after a 35-year public service career. Addlemanís original replacement was acting director Chris Ricker.

Medina took over the local child welfare department from longtime head Robert Taniguchi in the wake of the high-profile murders of 7-year-old Shaun Tara and 3-year-old Delylah Tara in 2015, which sparked a state-level departmental analysis of the local system. She oversaw the aftermath including implementation of several reforms.

Her 27-year public child welfare career includes stints in both Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties where she worked on administering social services programs, and policy and program development and training. She will oversee a department with a $285.3 million annual budget and 874 full-time employees. She will be paid $189,400 in annual salary.

Currently the California Library Associationís president-elect, Theyer said she was already well aware of the local library systemís award-winning reputation and knows Addleman. She jumped at the chance to seek the local position. While applying, she said she visited nearly all of the library branches incognito, noting the geographic area the system covers and praising the welcoming atmosphere at each branch she visited. She said her top priority will be completing and implementing a strategic plan started under Addlemanís tenure.

Theyer spent the past two decades with the Torrance Public Library system where she served most recently as city librarian and also worked in the Palos Verdes and Sacramento library systems. She will oversee a 16-branch library system with an $11.3 million annual budget and 66 full-time employees. She will be paid $167,265 in annual salary.

Both have local connections.

Medina was born in Marina and graduated from Seaside High School before earning a B.A. in Sociology from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and a Masterís in Social Work from USC.

Theyer attended UC Santa Cruz where she earned a B.A., then received her Masterís in Library Science from UCLA and Masterís in Public Administration from California State University Long Beach.

Both positions were the subject of a nationwide recruitment effort.

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