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Board airs Skeel’s reinstatement plan

By From page A1 | September 8, 2011

The El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors divulged a little more information about the plan to reinstate General Manager John Skeel at last week’s regular board meeting.

“There’s currently no time frame for the remediation plan,” Board President Guy Gertsch said in a prepared statement.”John and the board ask for your patience and assistance as we work to meet this challenge.”

Gertsch later told Village Life via a phone conversation that he and Director Tony Rogozinski are manning an ad hoc committee on Skeel’s reinstatement, and had a lengthy and productive meeting with Skeel on Sept. 6. Both parties are now working together on the terms of a “remediation plan.”

Once the plan is agreed upon Skeel can return to work. Gertsch anticipated that several meetings would be required, and said no firm target has been set for agreeing on the remediation plan. “We want it done in short order … to get John back and working normally for the district.”

He made it clear that his board is eager to put the entire incident behind them. “Everything’s positive at this point,” Gertsch said. “We’re working together. We want to get back to business as usual as soon as possible. Both sides are taking ownership here. You’ll hear that tonight.”

Gertch also addressed Human Resources Manager Tracy Lynn Lowry’s situation. Several disgruntled CSD employees and their family members complained about Lowry during a raucous Aug. 23 board meeting. Several reader comments on the Village Life website also questioned both Lowry’s and Assistant General Manager Sandi Kukkola’s role in the events that led up to Skeel’s near-termination.

“John and the board agreed that the first order of business is to correct the misperception of the Human Resources manager that has developed since John began,” said Gertsch. “Much has been said by employees and members of the public about Tracy Lynn that is simply not true.”

He blamed a lack of understanding of Lowry’s role as Human Resources manager, and of her “obligation and responsibilities both to John and the board” for the animus.

“John and the board both acknowledge and regret that Tracy Lynn became villainized in a situation that principally involved John and the board’s relationship,” he said. “Issues with Tracy Lynn Lowry or Sandi Kukkola or any other employees were only collaterally related to the two issues that developed between John and the board.”

Former CSD Director Justin Master addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting and thanked them for their recent “positive actions” in reinstating Skeel.

He was concerned that the board’s stated deficiencies with Skeel seemed subjective, and asked that quantitative and measureable goals be used in the remediation plan.

The board placed Skeel on paid leave nearly three months ago, the first step in a dismissal that derailed over the several weeks. The directors voted unanimously in a Sept. 2 closed session meeting 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,” according to a press release.

To catch up on the Skeel dismissal story search for “Skeel” on the Village Life website villagelife.com.

Mike Roberts


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