Alum leads Board of Supervisors

Jan. 20, 2010, 12:02 a.m.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors this month elected Stanford alumnus Ken Yeager Ph.D. ’91 as its president.

Yeager will replace Liz Kniss as president. He has served on the Board of Supervisors for the past three years, most recently as vice president.

Reflecting on his time as a board member, Yeager cited allocating money for disease prevention and focusing on environmental issues as his main accomplishments.

“The county has been much more active in reducing its carbon footprint,” Yeager said. “These are issues that I’m going to continue to work on as president.”

As he continues to put more effort into these issues, Yeager will take on added responsibilities with his promotion. His new obligations include presiding over board meetings, serving as the point person and performing ceremonial functions for the county.

Looking at the year ahead, Yeager’s goals include improving the public health department.

“I want to put more money into safety net programs, particularly drug…alcohol and mental health programs,” Yeager said.

However, a reduced budget and decreased state and federal funding for local programs present major challenges for accomplishing these goals.

Yeager will also play a hand in the question of whether Stanford should be exempt from the Santa Clara County social host drinking ordinance permanently or on an annual basis. Santa Clara County officials are set to re-examine Stanford’s exemption at the end of this month.

“I think Stanford has been doing a great job with its program,” Yeager said. “I don’t know what the Board might do, but I certainly believe that Stanford should continue to be exempted.”

Yeager, 57, lives in San Jose and holds an M.A. in sociology and a Ph.D. in education from Stanford. Yeager said that while at Stanford, he ran the Dish every day — and went on to run 30 marathons.

Yeager not only credits Stanford for his athletic development, but also his career successes.

“I credit Stanford with giving me a lot of professional opportunities in teaching that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Yeager said. “I have very fond memories of my days at Stanford.”

The Board of Supervisors’ next meeting is set for Jan. 26.

Annie Prossnitz contributed to this report.

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