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Shasta County delays hiring leader of California secessionist movement as CEO

A headshot of a white man with short grey hair, wearing a black suit with a red tie
Chriss Street, who was nominated to fill Shasta County's CEO position pending a background check

Supervisors in Shasta County delayed hiring Chriss Street on Tuesday as the new County Executive Officer.

The county’s legal counsel says they received a background check about Street, and he has five business days to respond to the investigator about the report. The findings of the background check were not made public.

Street’s nomination by the board of supervisors has drawn harsh criticism from residents who pointed out his leadership position in the New California movement, which seeks to split urban and rural California into two states.

“I’m not clear how a person who has publicly stated that the constitution of the state of California is not constitutional," said Shasta County resident Susanne Baremore. "How can he take an oath to uphold that constitution?”

Residents were also concerned about the possibility of financial mismanagement by the person in charge of Shasta County's budget.

“Chriss Street misappropriated funds in Orange County," said resident Joshua Brown. "That is not who we want to handle our finances."

Street was Orange County’s treasurer from 2006 to 2011. He was forced to give up his authority of managing the county’s investments and criticized for wasting taxpayer money, according to the L.A. Times.

In 2010 Street was ordered to pay $7 million dollars in damages for mishandling a bankruptcy trust he managed before becoming county treasurer.

Some residents say hiring Street would further erode trust in Shasta County government, where political divisions have sharply divided the county in recent years.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.