Ben Stone, who has led the Sonoma County Economic Development Board for more than three decades, said Friday he plans to retire by April 30.
The county’s human resources department plans to launch a nationwide search for Stone’s replacement by the end of next week, spokeswoman Briana Khan said. The Board of Supervisors will ultimately approve the hire of the new executive director, who will take the reins of a department with about 14 employees and an annual operating budget of $3 million, Stone said.
Stone, 67, said he plans to focus on rebuilding his Coffey Park home destroyed in the 2017 fires and volunteering with educational institutions.
“It’s a good time and the Economic Development Board is in such great shape,” said Stone, who was hired in 1986. “It’s a good team, the economy is good and it’s a good time to turn it over for new beginnings.”
He said his accomplishments include developing a single tourism agency, Sonoma County Tourism, and launching other strategic plans and programs.
Pam Chanter, chairwoman of the 10 volunteers who direct the Economic Development Board, said Stone will be “a hard act to follow.”
“His legacy is innovation, collaboration and bringing partners together for the betterment of the business community,” she said.
Stone’s annual base salary is $155,949, according to the county’s payroll accounting manager Cheryl Enold.
This story originally appeared on PressDemocrat.com, also part of the Sonoma Media Investments news network.