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John Skeel’s office sits empty while things ‘play out’

EMPTY CHAIR —€” El Dorado Hills CSD General Manager John Skeel cleared out his office last week. He was asked to take a personal leave by the CSD's Board of Directors in mid June. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts
EMPTY CHAIR —€” El Dorado Hills CSD General Manager John Skeel cleared out his office last week. He was asked to take a personal leave by the CSD's Board of Directors in mid June. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts

EL DORADO HILLS Community Services General Manager John Skeel shared a big smile and his hopes for the future with Village Life when he took the job in January. He hasn't publicly discussed his recent leave of absence. Village Life file photo by Shelly Thorene

El Dorado Hills Community Services General Manager John Skeel still has a job, for the moment.

CSD Board Vice-president Noelle Mattock opened the July board meeting on Thursday night by reporting that, “Our attorney and John’s attorney are working together amicably to resolve the situation.”

After the meeting Mattock added, “We’re optimistic for a resolution” and, “We have the best interests of the residents at heart.”

But any sense that Skeel might remain on as general manager after abruptly being asked to take a personal leave of absence last month was tempered by the fact that Skeel has removed his personal effects from his office, leaving behind an empty space.

“At the time that (Skeel) was placed on a leave of absence he was hopeful that he could work with the board to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of their differences, and he has always wanted simply to return to work and do his job,” states attorney Ellen C. Arabian-Lee, who’s representing Skeel. “However, it has been made clear to him that this is not an option for him.”

The board received several letters in support of Skeel, one of which was read aloud during the meeting.

Board President Guy Gertsch replied in writing to each, reiterating, “It is difficult for employees and community members to form accurate conclusions about the current state of affairs concerning John … since the district is prohibited by law from releasing information publicly concerning personnel matters.”

Gertsch further laments the frustration in the community “since you are left to form opinions and reach conclusions based on only partial information, sometimes inaccurate information and rumors and speculation.”

Skeel’s contract was effective Jan. 31, 2011, and runs for three years.

He earns $126,500 per year. Benefits includes up to $1,775 per month in medical, dental and vision coverage, plus a PERS retirement package that would pay him 2 percent at 60 with an employee contribution of 3.5 percent. He also receives a $375 per month vehicle allowance and a cell phone.

The CSD’s recruitment and hiring expenses include a $9,380 relocation fee to move Skeel’s family from Colorado, plus the cost of several round-trip airfares flying Skeel, other candidates and some district officials to and from El Dorado Hills. In addition, Human Resources Director Manager Lynn Lowry (no relation to former General Manager and current director Wayne Lowery) was given two weeks of paid vacation for her efforts in recruiting Skeel.

Skeel is responsible for the relocation expenses if he resigns or is discharged.

The CSD general manager serves at the pleasure of the board and, according to the contract, may be “discharged for cause” for failure to perform broad responsibilities defined in the contract: job knowledge/skills, quality and quantity of work, initiative and creativity, teamwork/cooperation, communication, ability to adapt to change, decision making and judgment, leadership and supervision/management.

He may also be discharged for failure to meet goals established in his first 30 days on the job.

The contract doesn’t include a probationary period for the general manager position, so he can’t be terminated “at will.” It does, however, include performance reviews at three and six months. Gertsch confirmed that a three-month review was conducted but wouldn’t share the details.

Four of five directors must vote to discharge for cause but, importantly, the contract states that “sufficiency of cause shall be determined solely by the board of directors.” The contract requires that the board provide “written notice of the conduct or deficiencies” prior to initiating discharge for cause. Skeel would get an opportunity to defend himself to the board against the pending action.

Violation of the terms of the contract would leave the board exposed to a lawsuit by Skeel.

“There’s a mountain of information out there, not all of it accurate,” said Gertsch by phone on Friday. “People are trying to fill in the blanks, which they really can’t do yet. We ask that you be patient. This is going to take a while to play out.”

mroberts@villagelife.com

Short URL: http://www.villagelife.com/?p=9513

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4 Comments for “John Skeel’s office sits empty while things ‘play out’”


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  1. “John wants to tell the public what happened, and he apologizes to the public and the employees for his silence thus far. At the time that he was placed on a leave of absence, he was hopeful that he could work with the Board to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of their differences, and he has always wanted simply to return to work and do his job. However, it has been made clear to him that this is not an option for him. John is contemplating giving the press a full interview to tell his story.”

  2. Dear John Skeel and All~
    As I read this article, and I am saddened by much as it seems a lot like what my family has been through in some ways living here in El Dorado Hills ever since I moved here into our vacation home with my 4 boys 3 years ago.
    As I read with what little knowledge we all know It just seems to me as It saddens me, and also “deadens” me now to read about it again as I read about it as as all I can think about is as I think of how short life is with what I just saw on my way home from our family vacation on this past Monday around 11:00am.-We, me and my 4 boys were witnesses to a small pick-up truck carrying 2 men driving on highway 99 right in front of us going North towards El Grove as the small truck driving right in front of me, and my 4 boys lost complete control of his small truck in the fast lane as it looked like a blown out tire or mechanical to me in that split second as me and my 4 boys then saw the small truck right in front of us in full view litterally skid out and fly across the 2 lanes as we watched from our middle lane in complete shock and horror as the truck then went off to the side of the far right shoulder of the road and hit a tree at least 60-70 miles an hour and my 17 year old son David who goes to Oak Ridge H.S then screamed; MOM! Pull over! Pull Over Mom!! MOM!!! I was already in mental and physical motion to do that and I did just that as I pulled over in front of the accident when everyone else on the road I saw kept on going zooming right past my red durango and it was my 3 oldest sons Derek(13), Daniel(14) and David(17) who flew out of our red durango without even asking as my car was still with motor running but my 3 sons were on a mission to help the man driving and I was not about to stop them all as that is how I have raised my 4 sons (incl. Donovan 7) to Stop! jump! run! and help! Go and Reach out and help all who are in need, and they all 3 ‘Item Boys’ did just that! My 3 Item boys were helping and talking to the man driver in shock holding as he was holding his arm bleading and suffering with all his legs and arms broken and crushed into the front of the cab of his truck and into a huge tree, bleeding and he screamed for ‘Help!’ my boys were right there helping as my oldest son David made the call to 911, and then as the firetrucks and ambulance finally came as my boys waved them all down as the small truck and hurting man was hidden in the side of the road and could not be seen, as the emergency help got the driver out bleeding and very badly hurt the driver then dropped what we thought was “his arm” but No! Oh God! We then Saw, It was not the drivers arm he was holding but his dead buddies arm, yes, his dead buddy we could not see since his dead buddy was crushed, bruised and hurting and left for dead, yes left for dead as the ambulance men only worked on helping the alive, the driver man. My boys turned to me and said’ “Mom, we didn’t even know their was a dead passanger.” I cried as they too cried out as the arm laid in the small truck limp hanging now for no one to hold it anymore. I told my boys; “we did not know, the passanger side was too smashed in.” The police arrived and walked us to our car to ask us a whole lot of questions. And me and my boys answered them all sadly and as honest as we could for what we had just seen happen to this man, and his buddy, his pal and friend. Yet, all the policeman, Officer Franklin had to go on was what our family, my 4 boys said to him, that we had Seen. Everyone else kept on driving, I guess, “not wanting to get involved?”… I saw one man stop, but as soon as the police arrived, for whatever reason, he left, drove away. I told my boys who asked me why he had driven away and left? I said; “some people are very selfish and too busy with thier own lives to care or even reach out to help others in need.”
    Me and my 4 boys then drove away as we sat in silence all the way home. The final words of the policeman Franklin to me were;”Kim, Count your blessings you were 5-10 seconds behind him, it could have been you too.”
    Yes, I am thankful, very thankful to be alive and I do count my blessings, every single day.
    Oh, and I also forgot to say; On the way out to our vacation start on last Thursday, mid-day, as we drove down 50 towards Folsom Blvd. my son middle son Derek screamed out; “Mom, there’s a fire on the right hand side of the freeway!” Look! and I looked and it was just that, a fire in Folsom on the side of the 50 freeway. I then immediately called 911 and they put me through to fire and rescue (1st. the dispatch had heard of any fire on 50) and the Fire Dept. said they were on their way, and thanked me!…Again, I was shocked then that no one had called since we all saw that the fire was not brand newly started. My boys asked then why no one had called? “mom, with all the drivers going down 50 at noon, why had not anyone called?”… I said then; “Many are too busy to stop what they are doing Derek, and help!” Many leave that “job” to others, like with us the Item Family, and also I pray too along with the Skeel Family too!
    Signed, ~a true testimony and true life story~
    Kim Item & Family

  3. NEWS RELEASE
    For Immediate Release
    October 29, 2010
    Contact: Noelle Mattock
    El Dorado Hills Community Services District
    Phone: (916) 835-4668
    noellemattock@comcast.net

    CSD APPOINTS NEW GENERAL MANAGER
    EL DORADO HILLS, CA – The El Dorado Hills CSD Board of Directors are proud to announce after a five-month national search we have hired Mr. John P. Skeel as our new General Manager. Mr. Skeel joins the district with over 22 years of related parks and recreation and private sector career experience.
    In order to meet the changing economic climate, over the past two years the
    district has been moving towards a more strategic and private sector approach towards finances and service delivery. In doing so, “we developed a very specific set of criteria and traits we were looking for,” said Vice President Guy Gertsch.
    The candidates were put through a comprehensive application and interview process. Of the over 70 inquiries that were received, three candidates advanced through the entire consideration process. The process included a scrupulous panel interview conducted by five top-notch industry professionals and the District’s attorney. The final interview, a diligent process which included among other challenges, a professional presentation, was conducted by the entire Board of Directors. “John stood out due to his experiences that directly relate to the challenges facing the district today and challenges we foresee in the future,” said Board President Noelle Mattock.

    Mr. Skeel’s first day with the District will come in January. “I’m excited to be
    joining the CSD. Along with my wife and three children we look forward to becoming a part of this marvelous community,” said Mr. Skeel.

  4. Dear John Skeel family, EDH community, residents & CSD Board of Directors~
    “So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
    Isaiah 55:11

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