Orange County’s top emergency manager for disaster response resigned on Thursday, saying she’s leaving for a job in the private sector.

Donna Boston, who directs emergency management at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, is the fourth high-ranking county executive to step down during the coronavirus pandemic, following sudden departures last year of top Health Care Agency executives Richard Sanchez, David Souleles and Nichole Quick.

Boston, who’s worked at the department for 16 years, emailed colleagues Thursday to announce she’d be leaving at the end of the day for a position in the private sector.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Boston told Voice of OC in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.

“I have a wonderful opportunity that I’m going to, and I’m very excited about that. And it’s…a normal, new opportunity,” she added, saying she was holding off on revealing what the new job is until later.

Asked if the sudden departure of OC’s top emergency response manager affects coronavirus response, County CEO Frank Kim said he’s confident that coordination will continue to work well.

“The county has committed significant resources to support our [coronavirus] response, from all county departments,” Kim told Voice of OC.

“[The Sheriff’s Department] has been outstanding in providing emergency management resources, and I have full confidence that this level of support will continue.”

Starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, the emergency management director will become Michelle Anderson, who has served as Boston’s second-in-command up until now.

Boston verbally told her superiors last week that she was leaving for an opportunity outside the county government, said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun.

“She has served the county incredibly well, and we wish her luck in her future endeavors,” Braun said.

Boston made about $172,000 in pay and $56,000 in benefits as of 2019, for a total compensation of $228,000, according to county payroll data published by Transparent California.

“The Orange County community is an amazing, dynamic one. And I think the public safety professionals truly care about their community,” Boston told Voice of OC.

“It’s a great place to live, work and play.”

Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

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