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CSD GM Skeel tentatively reinstated

By September 2, 2011

The El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors announced Friday afternoon it has suspended the termination of General Manager John Skeel.

The board placed Skeel on paid leave June 20, less than six months after hiring him, and moving his family from Colorado.

The case against Skeel seemed to unravel in the last week and a half, after a raucous Aug. 23 board meeting where Skeel and his attorneys answered the formal charges against him and questioned the legitimacy of a 90-day performance evaluation in Skeel’s personnel file.

The press release issued Friday indicates that the board voted unanimously in closed session that morning to reinstate Skeel and defer the decision to terminate “contingent upon implementing a detailed remediation plan to allow the general manager to correct performance deficiencies and overcome the basis to terminate his contract and return to duty.”

Board President Guy Gertsch confirmed the vote late Friday. An ad hoc subcommittee consisting of Gertsch and Director Tony Rogozinski will tentatively meet with Skeel on Tuesday to hammer out a remediation plan, with the goal of getting Skeel back on the job shortly thereafter.

Gertsch released the following statement prepared by CSD legal counsel Bob Thurbon: “The board found that Mr. Skeel has several serious performance issues and has engaged in certain conduct that is inconsistent with the standards of conduct required of all district employees, especially our top manager. These issues must be corrected if Mr. Skeel is to continue as our general manager.

“But the board also concluded that it must do a better job of ensuring that Mr. Skeel fully understands his performance and conduct deficiencies and has a full opportunity to correct these deficiencies in order to overcome the basis for contract termination.

“The remediation program will address these issues and provide Mr. Skeel with a final opportunity to satisfactorily address these issues and  avoid contract termination.”

Skeel has not returned phone calls. No other information on the decision was available on Friday.

Click here to see the 9/2/11 CSD press release on John Skeel

Mike Roberts

Discussion | 10 comments

  • Concerened EDH CitizenSeptember 02, 2011 - 4:40 pm

    This is the correct decision. If the board has issues with Mr. Skeel's performance, the actions they are taking NOW are the ones that she should have been taking from the time those concerns arose. Extremely unimpressed with the performance of the all major players here.

  • Stonegate residentSeptember 02, 2011 - 4:49 pm

    WOW, its about time they realized what should have been done a long time ago. Now what about the HR director and Assistant general manager, why aren't they being investigated?

  • HalSeptember 02, 2011 - 5:16 pm

    Well the CSD Board finally did the right by putting John back to work. Now they should look into the conduct of Tracey Lynn and Noelle Mattock. I hope the board does not have something up their sleeve!

  • El Dorado HellionSeptember 02, 2011 - 10:27 pm

    Caught by the short hairs, a sullen CSD issues a smirking Slytherin-style salvo to Skeel (hiss the words and rub your hands greedily as you read): "The Board unanimously voted to suspend and defer the decision to terminate the general manager contingent upon implementing a detailed remediation plan to allow the general manager to correct performance deficiencies and overcome the basis to terminate his contract and return to duty." "Ah - yes - Skeeel! We will reinstate you - as you and your little community demands - BUT not without one last catty dig (in our best businessspeak) for making us look so-o-o inept!"

  • Jerry from EDHSeptember 04, 2011 - 10:26 pm

    Skeel is dirty. Realize. give it a month, and he will be gone yet again. he fucked up the CSD. We cant blame anyone but him for his dirty tactics. Go back to Colorado. It's not the HR person that caused this, and its not the Assistant general manager that caused this. I have read enough info to actually figure this out. I am SOOO glad I don't work at a place that is so messed up by a dirty GM and politics. I thought my place of employment had problems. A lot of arrogant people in this community,(including those of you that wrote a response to this article) but I guess thats EDH for you. Oh and I would love to communicate with those people that would like to respond to my thoughts.

  • Scott RunzlerSeptember 06, 2011 - 9:27 am

    Ladies and Gentleman, meet "Jerry from EDH." Otherwise known as Tracy Lynn Lowry. Where's your evidence that he's so dirty Jer? Did you go to the same public forum I did?

  • John YoungSeptember 06, 2011 - 9:09 pm

    I went to some of the public forums, but there was no evidence shown by the board as to why they did what they did. All the board showed us the public was the statement of charges, no evidence to back it up. The "defense" basically attacked the HR manager, bringing up several false details, and claims. Namely the person who claims she was let go, but actually resigned. The whole reason to let go the HR and AGM was to save money, when AGM was filling in role of Rec Director and yet he hired a full time HR person at previous place that was the same size. Does anyone actually pay attention to these facts, nope they pay attention to attacks on a person who no one can prove has done anything wrong. The problem is several employee hold HR responsible for the reorganization and the terminations because she delivered the news to people. Just like the contract that Skeel brought up, basically blaming HR for some mistakes he says he found. Well HR did not write the contract, that was the board lawyer. Oh and I did have one question for the employees who may read this, if he was such a great leader why did he not fight for the raises or hour increase for Jill and Darrah? Why did he hide the numbers in the budget? And when questioned by the board about the increase why did he not show the evidence he had gathered to justify the increase? That is a great leader, Mr Skeel on the other hand beyond his ability and should have asked the board to buy him out and just gone away.

  • Travesty in El Dorado HillsSeptember 07, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    Congratulations to the Board for trying to right a wrong. The work is only partially done, however. The root problem of low employee morale lies squarely with the HR manager, Tracey Lynn Lowry. That problem needs to be fixed. The assistant GM, Sandy Kukkola, should take much responsibility for letting the HR situation spiral out of control. Let's save the district MONEY. We don't need a full time HR person being paid a ridiculous amount of money. We don't need an assistant GM that apparently doesn't have much to show in the way of accomplishments over the past 2 years. We look forward to John Skeel's much needed leadership. Board -- Let's fix the problem.

  • Ian ElderSeptember 07, 2011 - 5:35 pm

    Response to John Young/Jerry: It's beginning to look as though the HR manager at the CSD should get herself an attorney ASAP. You are correct, as I see it, in pointing out that the CSD board presented no evidence to back up their initial charges. In a statement read by Mr. Thurbon, the board did rely almost solely on charges that Mr. Skeel retaliated against Ms. Lowry. Ms. Lowry should have been present at the public meeting where that statement was read. Then, Ms. Lowry could have responded to questions which Mr. Thurbon could not answer for her. It might have saved Ms. Lowry from a great deal of speculation and criticism of her. In my estimation, neither Mr. Skeel nor Ms. Lowry was really treated fairly. Mr. Skeel could not ask questions directly of Ms. Lowry and Ms. Lowry could not defend her statement because of her absence. It occurs to me that the district itself is vulnerable in this instance. Their attorney seems to be acting in two roles here: in one, he defends the district; in the other, defends Ms. Lowry. But if in fact Mr. Skeel did retaliate against Ms. Lowry, he did so as a paid employee of the District. In that case, any harm that may have come to the HR manager would be the District's responsibility. I don't believe that Ms. Lowry can continue in her current position. The employees she works with appear hostile and mistrusting of her. Wrongly or rightly, in my opinion she almost certainly cannot remain in that environment. Because she came forward with allegations against Mr. Skeel, apparently with some vehemence, I believe neither Mr. Skeel nor any subsequent GM could realisticallly utilize her again. These things linger. The same might be said about the amount of reliance any sensible executive would place on Ms. Kukkola, who apparently is a close friend, mentor and supervisor of Ms. Lowry. In my opinion, Ms. Lowry will lose her job in the end. I think her chances of landing another in the HR field, in which she appears to be a novice to begin with, are very, very slim. Her only two courses of action will be to just fade away or to seek some redress from the District for the handling of this matter. I believe the District faces liability in this situation. Mr. Thurbon is walking a fine line as well. It may be interesting to see how he handles the fact that, in essence, he represents the District and at the same time is responsible for a debacle that must have severely affected the career aspirations of Ms. Lowry as well as her private life. I suspect there is a great deal of justified resentment and fear among CSD employees. The elitism and arrogance of Ms. Lowry and Ms. Kukkola are, in my opinion, evident in their efforts to blame fellow employees for their own ineptness. However, even more inept is our board, who may have through negligence, stubbornness and naivete, created an explosive situation which may take years and a new board to repair. For, like the mistrust of Ms. Lowry and Ms. Kukkola by employees, there is a growing mistrust of board members by the electorate as well. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . . ."

  • concerned citizenSeptember 16, 2011 - 6:15 am

    Good reading-go to the EDHCSD.org.website the Community tab and news and announcements. After reading all 150 pages come to your own conclusions as to what should be the Boards next steps. Bringing John backk is just the FIRST step.If an investigation is not conducted, the District will be liable for more wasted money on attorney fees and paying off employees who have information against the HR manager. Money we can't afford to spend.



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