With a foot in both the university and local communities, Cooperative Extension county directors have unique opportunities to network, scan opportunities, identify assets, design and market programs, build public support, and solve problems. A survey of the administrative workload, satisfactions, and frustrations of California county directors finds these leadership roles are insufficiently supported. The data suggest the need to 1) alter merit review policies to reward community connections and networking, 2) reinvent university support bureaucracies to treat county directors as valued customers, and 3) reassert a robust vision of county-based Extension at the highest levels of the organization.

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