General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

Chief Administrative Office

Chief Administrative Office

Welcome from Don Ashton, El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer

El Dorado County is a dynamic place where everything is possible and is a community that takes pride in protecting our natural resources and respecting our historical heritage. The County provides its citizens and visitors the opportunity to enjoy a variety of lifestyles from semi-urban to more secluded areas from the high sierra’s to the foothills. If you are an outdoor enthusiast there is no better place to be with more than 25 lakes, including the world renown Lake Tahoe, rivers and streams for whitewater rafting and fishing, over 1 million acres of national forest land with mountain trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, and ski resorts.

El Dorado County is also home to Apple Hill, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, more than 60 wineries, Desolation Wilderness, the Rubicon Trail, as well as Blue Ribbon Schools and outstanding healthcare services with two fully accredited acute care hospitals, Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe and Marshall Medical Center in Placerville.

If you are looking to relocate your family or your business to a supportive and welcoming community, we encourage you to consider El Dorado County. For those who love the adventure of the outdoors, the scenic beauty of mountain lakes, and/or wine tasting at many of our award winning wineries, El Dorado County welcomes you and looks forward to your visit.

El Dorado County was created in 1850 and is the home of the California Gold Rush. Today, El Dorado County is home to about 184,000 residents and a County government with approximately 1900 staff providing a wide variety of services to our community.

The county government provides a wide array of services to both the unincorporated areas and the two incorporated cities of Placerville and South Lake Tahoe. The cities are responsible for providing a variety of municipal services to residents who live within city limits, including their own police, road construction and maintenance, parks and land-use planning.

El Dorado County Government is a strategic driven, continues improvement organization that takes pride in providing ‘The Gold Standard of Public Service’.

In 2016, El Dorado County adopted a Strategic Plan that includes our Vision, Mission, Core Values and priority Goals.

Vision:  Safe, healthy and vibrant communities respecting our natural resources and historical heritage.

Mission:  El Dorado County government shall provide efficient, courteous, and effective services and infrastructure for safety, protection, and well-being of our residents, businesses and visitors.


Core Values:

  1. Accountability:  Responsible for our decisions and behavior. Creating a safe environment where we are answerable to our citizens, co-workers, superiors, direct reports, and other stakeholders

  2. Collaboration:  Cross-functional teamwork, communication, and cooperation countywide, while creating a silo-free organization.

  3. Integrity:  Doing what is right legally and morally at all times regardless of whether or not someone is watching.

  4. Service Excellence:  (Citizen-Oriented Service)- Provide comprehensive service to all citizens of El Dorado County while loyally doing our job without expectation of recognition or personal gain

Strategic Goals:

  1. Public Safety:  Protects the community, prevents crime, enforces the law, administers justice, provides rehabilitative services, and promptly responds to emergencies and calls for service.

  2. Economic Development:  Enable a Prosperous and Vibrant Economy

  3. Good Governance:  Achieving the best possible process for making & implementing decisions; characterized by honesty, integrity, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, equitability, inclusion, effectiveness, efficiency and following the rule of law.

  4. Infrastructure:  Provide, operate and maintain infrastructure, public facilities, and associated services that protect our community, environment and economic well-being.

  5. Healthy Communities:  Improved health, well-being and self sufficiency of El Dorado County communities, residents and visitors.

Over the next few months El Dorado County will be moving forward with implementating the initiatives in our Strategic Plan in order to achieve our primary goal of improving services to our community and becoming the ‘Gold Standard of Public Service’.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is appointed by and reports to the Board of Supervisors and is responsible to the Board for the proper and efficient administration of the affairs of the County as prescribed in the County Charter and by formal action of the Board, as well as coordinating the work of all offices and departments, identifying ways to achieve efficiency and economy in all county operations, and recommending and administering the County budget.

On an annual basis the CAO is responsible for reviewing and appraising the performance of all appointed department heads, with the exception of the County Counsel (Board appointee). Voters choose seven elected officials: Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator, Assessor, Auditor-Controller, County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar, District Attorney, Treasurer-Tax Collector and Surveyor.

Together, the Chief Administrative Office team:

  • Coordinates the work of all offices and departments, both elective and appointive, and identifies ways to make County government and operations more efficient.
  • Formulate and present plans to the Board of Supervisors to implement policies and accomplish goals established by the Board.
  • After collaboration with all departments, recommends an annual budget for all departments and agencies in which the Board is responsible or which request county funds, and then administers the budget after its adoption by the Board.
  • Provides in-depth analysis and review of all county programs on a regular basis in a manner that allows the Board to make informed policy decisions.
  • Provides and implements appropriate internal controls to safeguard county money and property.
  • Collaborates with federal, state, regional and local government entities ensuring the best interest of El Dorado County.
  • Coordinates the review and publication of a county long-range fiscal plan and the annual statement of goals as adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

Don Ashton began as the Chief Administrative Officer in May 2016. In 1993, Don began his career working in local government in Los Angeles County. For 17 years in Los Angeles, he worked in a variety of leadership positions in areas such as finance/budget, human resources, internal audits and compliance, and serving as a Deputy Executive Officer overseeing all administrative and finance responsibilities for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

In 2011, Don relocated to El Dorado County to marry his wife Anne, who has been a resident of El Dorado County for over 18 years. Don began his career in El Dorado County serving as the Sheriff’s Chief Fiscal Officer, as a Principal Analyst in the Chief Administrative Office, and most recently as the Director of the Health and Human Services Agency.

He enjoys working in County government because it makes a difference in the lives of residents on a daily basis by providing a broad range of services that impact the health, safety and well-being of residents.

"As El Dorado County’s CAO, my top priority is providing leadership and using my experience to help the County take advantage of a committed Board, committed workforce and engaged community to become a high performing organization that is focused on long range planning and continuous quality improvement through the implementation of the County’s Strategic Plan. I will work to keep costs and revenue in balance, complete projects that have been deferred because of budget constraints, and continue promoting an accountable, collaborative County and more innovative organization that provides high-quality services and has a clear vision of the future."