AVCSD reorganization costs two jobs: assistant general manager, operator ousted
Amid looming plans for a new state-mandated sewer treatment facility, directors of the American Valley Community Services District are reorganizing the operation.
The decision came during a special meeting of the AVCSD Board of Directors on Wednesday, Feb. 5. All five directors, General Manager Jim Doohan and attorney Josh Nelson attended.
Just two years into efforts to consolidate two districts — East Quincy Services District and Quincy Community Services District — four of the five directors voted to eliminate the positions of assistant general manager and an operator. That decision cost Mike Green and John Selby their jobs.
The discussions and votes took place in closed session, not under reorganization, but under employee performance evaluation and employee discipline/dismissal/release terminology for Green’s position. Selby’s position was eliminated in a letter to him.
The discussions and votes lasted approximately 25 minutes. Green was sometimes involved in one portion of the closed session.
Just eight months from retirement, directors told Green that they eliminated his position. Green was general manager at EQSD before the consolidation. With more than 26 years in the field and certification requirements to operate the water and sewer treatment plant, Green was a key figure in the operation.
Prior to being eliminated from AVCSD, directors placed Green on administrative leave for approximately six weeks. Green was released from AVCSD without cause.
The second position eliminated is an operator. Selby worked for AVCSD and QCSD for more than seven years.
When asked why AVCSD chose to reorganize now, since it was a relatively new consolidation, AVCSD President Denny Churchill said that at the time of consolidation the directors tried to accommodate every person from both districts. Churchill later called that period of consolidation a “grand experiment.”
Nelson explained that General Manager Jim Doohan instituted a layoff procedure that was essentially reorganization.
There were also “certain personnel issues” that made reorganization beneficial, Doohan explained. Those personnel issues were not disclosed to the public.
Churchill also said that AVCSD was experiencing some growing pains. And that Doohan was implementing a new reorganization chart.
“We don’t get to see how it’s going to be reorganized?” asked Kathy Felker — the lone vote against releasing two employees.
“I find it very interesting that you’re getting rid of somebody of that caliber,” Selby said from the audience about Green.
“It wasn’t done lightly,” Churchill said. He added that the decision wasn’t done overnight.
“It only benefits your ego,” Selby continued. “It doesn’t benefit the community.”
Churchill allowed Selby to speak a little longer and then at the advice of the attorney, he said there would be no more discussion.
Historically, Quincy had two services districts. EQCD was rich in water that QCSD needed. QCSD had the treatment plant, which EQCD used.
As state mandates for a new treatment plant were considered, it was strongly recommended that the two districts consolidate.
That attempt at consolidation for other reasons was attempted a number of years earlier. The decision came right down to the wire and EQSD backed out of the plan.
But new consolidation plans moved forward. Originally there was an 11-member board of directors with one vacancy. As director’s terms expired or members resigned the board got smaller. Now five directors are seated on the board. They include Churchill, Felker, Bill Martin, Ruth Jackson and Mike Beatty.
The reorganizations or layoffs were not discussed in public during the regular January meeting of the board of directors. Green was present to answer directors’ questions concerning the operation, but he had been placed on administrative leave earlier in the month.
The first public announcement of any kind came in an agenda for the Feb. 5 meeting. Although the meeting was called a special meeting in an email from AVCSD Business Manager Katie Nunn and on the district’s web site, it was not listed as such on the agenda.