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CSD board questions Skeel’s ‘honesty and trustworthiness’

By August 29, 2011

The El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors legal counsel Bob Thurbon issued a preliminary reaction to General Manager John Skeel’s “response to charges” delivered by Skeel and his legal team during a boisterous Aug. 23 board meeting.

The response reiterates the board’s concern over Skeel’s “trustworthiness, honesty and character,” and informs the public that Thurbon is researching Skeel’s responses to determine if any are “deliberately false.”

Board President Guy Gertsch assured Village Life that Thurbon speaks for the board, and that when district officials finish investigating Skeel’s statements and allegations a public meeting will be held to announce their decision about whether to proceed with the termination of Skeel’s contract or reinstate him.

In a related development, the CSD board released Skeel’s 90-day written performance evaluation from his personnel file. During the Aug. 23 meeting Skeel claimed that the evaluation in his file contained far more negative feedback than the one he said he reviewed during the closed sesion performance review.

Click here to view Skeel’s performance evaluation

The board’s preliminary response to Skeel, authored by Thurbon follows in its entirity:

“The board continues to be concerned about the trustworthiness and honesty of Mr. Skeel, his retaliatory actions against the human resources manager, his performance in several areas with a significant concern about open and honest communications with board members.

“The overarching issue really goes to the character, honesty and trustworthiness of Mr. Skeel as our top level manager. The board did not make a decision after last night’s meeting and specifically asked legal counsel to complete further interviews with staff and conduct a document review so that the board can fairly consider certain statements by Mr. Skeel. The board remains concerned that key facts asserted by Mr. Skeel on the principal issues that lead to the tentative conclusion to terminate his contract are deliberately false.

“This is disturbing to the board and before the board makes a final decision the board wants all information possible to determine if the statements and facts that Mr.Skeel asserted last night that the board suspects are deliberately false, are in fact true.

“The board will meet again … with information on specific and key points and determine whether to not Mr. Skeel’s explanations were truthful and the board should change its tentative decision, or whether or not the key factual assertions made by Mr. Skeel are in fact false. The additional information and/or findings will be release publically.”

Mike Roberts

Discussion | 14 comments

  • Skeel and CSD board face off | Village LifeAugust 29, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    [...] Thurbon released a preliminary reaction to Skeel’s response the next day, see corresponding story “CSD Board qustions Skeel’s ‘honesty and trustworthiness.” [...]

  • Concerened EDH CitizenAugust 29, 2011 - 2:05 pm

    Unfortunately for the Board, their handling of this situation has caused many of us to have the same concern about them.

  • Are they really looking for truth?August 29, 2011 - 10:50 pm

    How many CSD staff members has the board or the board's legal representative talked to....beyond of course Tracy Lynn and Sandi Kukkola? I witnessed several staff members speak at a recent BOD meeting and their comments didn't seem to support the arguments being made by the BOD.

  • Just ThinkinAugust 29, 2011 - 10:59 pm

    Here's a potential solution. Wondering if anyone else has considered this. Why don't you reinstate Skeel and save severance / potential litigation costs, get rid of Miss Lowry and Miss Kukkola and save the money Mr. Skeel was proposing (I believe around $84k annually) and see how it goes? Based on comments from various employees of the CSD and from what I've seen at board meetings I've attended, Tracy Lynn Lowry and Sandy Kukkola "run the show" at the CSD during business hours and it seems in cooperation with Director Mattock also run the show with the Board. How about one of the males grows a pair and stands up to them?

  • Ian ElderAugust 30, 2011 - 11:11 am

    Can someone please enlighten me on the "retirement" of former CSD GM Wayne Lowery in June of 2010? Did he retire because the CSD Board failed to renew his contract? Was he essentially fired? If so, why was that detail kept so quiet? Did he, too, have issues with the three Musketeers, Kukkola, Lowry and Mattock? I may have been asleep at the wheel but I don't recall any mention of Lowery's "firing" until it was noted in a July 6, 2011 article in Village Life titled " 'No Confidence' in CSD Board." It was never followed up on by reporters from either local paper. Is there a story here or not? Someone please explain. Messrs. Lowery, Gertsch and Thurbon--are you out there? Speak up, please.

  • John DaveyAugust 31, 2011 - 8:01 am

    From the July 6th edition of Village Life " 'No Confidence' in CSD Board": "The prior board opted not to extend former General Manager Wayne Lowery’s contract in 2010, after 20 years on the job. He retired, took a similar position in Rio Linda, then won a position on the El Dorado Hills board." No mention is made of the Board not extending Mr. Lowery's contract in the village life article announcing his retirement in June 2010 ( http://www.basslakeaction.org/PDF_files/VillageLife-100615.pdf ) The May 20, 2010 Board Meeting had a closed session addressing Mr. Lowery's performance as GM: ( http://www.edhcsd.org/board_of_directors/archive/2010/minutes/min05202010r.pdf ) I find it remarkable that Mr. Lowey was not offered an extended contract, then successfully ran for the board. As the Board elections are not significantly more complicated than a popularity contest, one would think that if the Board were dissatisfied with Mr. Lowery they would have campaigned against his efforts at winning a seat. I may be wrong, but my recollection is that Mr. Lowery's candidacy was endorsed by Board Members.

  • Justin MastersAugust 31, 2011 - 11:36 am

    Renewal of a contract takes a simple majority, or the fallback on "evergreen clauses" or no action to renew. Termination of a GM under contract requires a super-majority (4/5) vote. Mr. Lowery's contract was renewed a couple of times, but on a 1 year basis. Mr. Lowery chose to announce his retirement at that time. His choice to work elsewhere (post-retirement) is his own business.

  • John DaveyAugust 31, 2011 - 3:35 pm

    So I guess the question is, is the Village Life now mis-reporting in 2011 that the Board choose not to renew Mr. Lowrey's contract in May of 2010? Because the article in June 2010 indicates that Mr. Lowrey choose to retire. Which is fine. He has a long history of service in our community, and campaigned successfully to win his current Director's seat. But the Village Life has told two different stories now.

  • Justin MastersAugust 31, 2011 - 3:43 pm


  • Mike RobertsSeptember 02, 2011 - 10:11 am

    This is Mike Roberts, the author of the Village Life stories in question. We did not learn that GM Lowery's contract was not renewed until earlier this year, and then reported it as an aside in the Skeel story.

  • Concerened EDH CitizenAugust 30, 2011 - 3:13 pm

    In regards to Skeel's performance review (linked above), Skeel claims the document in his file is not the same one that was presented to him during his review. Is this the document presented by the Board at Skeel's review? Where is the different document Skeel refers to? Why is the review not signed and dated by the Board? Why is not signed and dated by Skeel? Did Skeel refuse to sign it? If so, why is that not documented on the written review? Was Skeel asked to do a self-evaluation as is common for a management review? Where is that document? Who on the Board was responsible for making sure the review was completed and documented properly?

  • Travesty in El Dorado HillsAugust 31, 2011 - 10:09 am

    Please, please. Our CSD Board outsourced Mr Skeel's performance evaluation out to the 3rd grade class at Lake Forest Elementary for their semester civics assignment. The 3rd grade students were given short notice of this assignment, so they did the best they could. This CSD Board has sunk about as low as you can get. They have used the most unethical practices - lies, concocted charges, trumped up trivial matters - all for the purpose of protecting their Human Resource manager, Tracey Lynn Lowry and Interim GM, Sandi Kukkola who have teamed up to create the biggest disaster in CSD history. How long will we allow this comedy act to play on? I suggest not long. Spread the word throughout the community about the next OPEN board meeting. Tell you nieghbors to be there. Let's get record attendance. The CSD Board's lack of competency has created this mess. We deserve far better. Maybe we can see if any of the 3rd graders at Lake Forest Elementary are interested in filling any upcoming board vacancies.

  • concerned citizenAugust 30, 2011 - 4:23 pm

    All concerned citizens need to be at the special meeting tonight at 6:00 8/30/11 in the St Andrews Building

  • Concerened EDH CitizenAugust 30, 2011 - 6:28 pm

    There was a meeting tonight? This was announced where? The CSD web site says: August 26, 2011 The Board of Directors adjourned from deliberations over the Skeel matter. No decision was issued today. The Board will reconvene next week, probably Tuesday to finish deliberations. Who's running this circus?



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