UPDATE, 6:40 p.m.:

Well, now we know where Ford is headed. Looks like the City of Fort Bragg is getting back at Humboldt for taking its former city manager, Tabatha Miller, who was hired last year as Humboldt County’s assistant county administrative officer and chief financial officer. 

Ford will be Fort Bragg’s next city manager. Here’s that city’s press release:

The Fort Bragg City Council is pleased to announce that John Ford of McKinleyville, California has accepted their offer to serve as Fort Bragg’s next City Manager. Mr. Ford’s anticipated start date is July 5, 2022.

After the resignation of City Manager Tabatha Miller last December, the City retained the executive recruitment firm of Peckham & McKenney to conduct a nationwide search for a new city manager. Over 15 applications were received, and following an initial screening by the executive recruiter, the City Council selected four candidates for final interviews. A multiphased final interview process was conducted which included interviews with the City Council and selected members of the City management team. Mr. Ford was the unanimous choice of the City Council.

John Ford has years of experience in local government having worked for the City of Thousand Oaks, the City of Roseville, the County of Monterey and most recently as the Director of Planning and Building for the County of Humboldt. While at the County of Humboldt, Mr. Ford was responsible for the reorganization of the Planning and Building Department to accommodate the legalization of cannabis cultivation. The department not only developed a new permitting unit but was also assigned the Code Enforcement unit.

His background includes successful coordination with federal, tribal, state and local agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife, in addition to many others. He has overseen the processing of many large and complex projects and has developed creative solutions working with other agencies.


Original post:

Screenshot of Ford during a March Planning Commission meeting.


In a move that seems to have taken even his own staff by surprise, Humboldt County Planning and Building Director John Ford submitted his resignation this morning, notifying the Board of Supervisors via email that his last day on the job will be June 24.

The message was short and to the point:

Subject: Resignation

Dear Chair Bass and members of the Board of Supervisors

Please accept this letter as my resignation from the position of Director of Planning and Building. My last day in the position will be June 24, 2022.



John H. Ford

Ford, a veteran planner who came to the county in October of 2016, has overseen the Planning and Building Department during an unprecedented period of change in county land use following the statewide legalization of recreational cannabis.

The Board of Supervisors adopted the state’s first cannabis land use ordinance shortly before Ford’s arrival, and he has led the department as those regulations were implemented, revised and replaced with new ones under intense scrutiny and pressure, including lawsuits and industry push-back.

We’ve emailed Ford and left a voicemail seeking comment. The email kicked back an auto-reply saying he’s out of office until May 31. We’ll update this post with more information as it comes in.