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The Board of Supervisors Tuesday appointed Jan Lesher as County Administrator. She takes over from Chuck Huckelberry who had been County Administrator since 1993. Lesher has been serving as Acting County Administrator since October when Huckelberry was badly injured in a bicycling accident. The Board also accepted Huckelberry’s resignation at the meeting.
Lesher, 66, a Tucson native who attended the University of Arizona, graduating with a degree in political science, is the first woman to be appointed County Administrator since the Board created the position in 1971 (Jane Verner served as interim County Administrator for 8 months in 1989) .
In her early career she worked for the city of Tucson as an assistant to City Manager Joel Valdez. In 1990 she became a small business owner, launching Lesher Communications, a public relations firm specializing in government relations, public affairs, and political campaigns.
In 2003, Gov. Janet Napolitano hired Lesher to run her Southern Arizona Office. Napolitano then made her director of the Arizona Department of Commerce before finally hiring her to be the governor’s chief of staff in 2008. In 2009, Napolitano was confirmed as the Homeland Security Secretary in the Obama Administration and Napolitano brought Lesher with her to Washington D.C. to continue to serve as her chief of staff and oversee a department with 240,000 employees and a $52 billion budget.
Lesher missed her home state and in 2010 returned to Tucson where Huckelberry hired her as a special assistant to the County Administrator. Lesher was promoted to Deputy County Administrator in 2011 and Huckelberry named her Chief Deputy County Administrator in 2017.
Lesher is extraordinarily active and well known in the community and has served on numerous charitable organization boards, including service as a member of the Board of Directors of Arizona Town Hall; the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona; the University of Arizona College of Social & Behavioral Science; the Community Food Bank; and La Frontera.
She was named a Woman of Influence by Inside Tucson Business and recognized with the Women Who Lead award from the University of Arizona Women’s Studies Advisory Council in 2004. She was honored as the Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 2005. In 2008 she was the Arizona Capitol Times Leader of the Year in Public Policy and received the YWCA Business Leadership Award.