El Dorado Hills General Manager Being Paid To Do Nothing

EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — Members of the board who hired the El Dorado Hills general manager have asked him to not work, and he says he has no idea why.

Taxpayer money is being used to pay for El Dorado Hills’ general manager John Skeel to do nothing. We tried to find out why, but the board is not offering answers. What we did find out, is that paying for a GM isn’t cheap.

“Since being put on leave, this is now a waste of money because being paid to do nothing is not serving anybody,” said Skeel.

John Skeel just started as general manager of the El Dorado Hills Community Services District in January. Five weeks ago, the board told him they want him out the door.

“They told me I was on leave and they’d come up with a story as to why I was gone, and that’s when I would hear from them,” said Skeel.

With a salary of more than $126,000 taxpayer dollars, it means they’ve already paid him more than $10,000 to stay home.

Neda: So five weeks later and you still don’t know why?

Skeel: No, and it’s really difficult. Employees are asking, the community’s asking me and I can’t say anything.

CBS13 started asking questions, but we got no answers over the phone so we went directly to the board who refused to comment.

The interim general manager only gave us her attorney’s phone number who said the leave of absence is a private personnel matter.

It’s not just Skeel’s salary that’s costing taxpayers. Getting him out here took time and money. He was the board’s pick after a five-month national search of over 70 applicants.

His recruitment, like his salary, cost a pretty penny. Board members flew to his place in Colorado and they flew Skeel and his wife into town and covered about $10,000 of his moving expenses. On top of his salary, Skeel also gets a $375 per month car allowance.

Skeel says he was hired to cut costs, but thinks some of his proposed cuts may have upset the board. In the end, it’s his job that may be cut, with him and taxpayers losing out in the process.

“I would like to get back to work so I’m actually earning my money,” said Skeel.

The board’s attorney says they are working with Skeel’s attorney to come up with some solution. In the meantime, tax dollars are still being spent while one of their highest-paid employees just waits.

  • 40 year resident of EDH

    If you have some evidence of this boards illegal behavior by all means you have the right to ask for the grand jury to investigate. I have met eaach of the board members and watched their actions in board meetings and committee meetings. They are honest, ethical, and have the residents of this community as their number one priority. I am satisified with them and the job they are doing in representing me. When past wrongs have been brought to their attention they have immediately addressed them – case in point they returned tax levies to home owners that were incorrectly charged. They did not fight it. They worked with residents to find the truth and took appropriate actions to resolve the situations. That doesnt sound like unethical behavior to me. That sounds like a bunch of people who want find out the truth and then do the right thing. Through everything they have consistenly delivered high quality projects, programs and those awesome summer concerts that are the envy of surrounding communities. Until you walk a mile in their shoes and have the knowledge they have of the situation. Everyone would be best served by allowing this process to play out instead of vilifying the board or John. The fact of the matter is that neither you nor I have all the details. And to jump to the conclusions and acusations that I have read on this page are appauling and you should be ashamed of yourselves! I love this community and all you are doing is trying to destroy what all the other residents enjoy and are happy with

    • dean

      Have you been to a Board meeting in the last 6 months??? Doesn’t sound like it!

      • 40 year

        Actually yes I have. And I even noticed how unprofessional Mr. Skeel was by rolling his eyes and making faces when board members were talking. I also watched as Mr. Skeel was unable to answer basic questions the board asked. It sounds like perhaps you have ax to grind because they did not cowtow to your special interest.

  • Justin Masters

    Truth Prevails,

    Thank you for the correction regarding private vs public life. There is indeed some overlap with some expectation of both lives to mingle, and hopefully they benefit one another.

    As for why I’m not on the board – I ran, but was not elected. And I’m okay with that. I spent 4 years fighting the board before getting on the board, and I’m enjoying time away from the rigors of the district. (I’m enjoying a private life again, if you will.)

    Good people are needed in all areas of govt. I hope others will step up to the plate. Otherwise we get what we ask for in our elections.

  • Finally the CSD can talk

    Hmmmm. Does anyone else see the inconsitencies in Mr. Skeel’s story. Shocked by the June 20 meeting but yet he felt such relief in March after two meetings with Wayne and Guy he went home and told his wife his job was safe. Clearly he had concerns prior March. http://www.villagelife.com/news/skeel-edh-csd-board-break-media-silence/

  • A CSD employee

    Obviously like most employees I am afraid to state my identity out of fear of repercussions. I also think this blog is an inappropriate forum for this discussion and anyone reading this needs to take into account the misinformation and fake postings to push their agendas. People need to come to board meetings and ask what is going on.

    I will try to stick to the facts for those of you that want to continue forming an opinion from a lot of slanderous and heated posts.

    I sometimes disagreed with Justin’s stances while he was a board member but I want to thank him for bringing some sanity to this discussion. It’s politics and people need to learn the truth and form a reasonable decision based on the available facts.

    To quote 40 year resident “Through everything THEY have consistenly delivered high quality projects, programs and those awesome summer concerts that are the envy of surrounding communities.”

    THEY (the board) are supposed to offer direction through the GM. It is inappropriate and ineffective for the board to be involved in day to day operations. The CSD employees deliver the services and despite everything we are still providing a high level of service with a dysfunctional organization. How can the board not be involved in day to day operations with our current management makeup? The recreation director position has been vacant for 2+ years. The parks director position also vacant for over a year. The finance director position has been valiantly filled by a current employee as an “acting director”. The planning department has been eliminated with the future planning and smart growth and services to the community in jeopardy as things fall through the cracks as the board continues to take no action to fill these positions.

    “Where is the leadership?” They don’t work for the CSD anymore. And now we don’t have a GM. As employees we were anxious to work with the new GM to rebuild the CSD and to get our jobs done as efficiently as possible and serve the community. We have always been welcoming to the board in offering information and assistance and open communication. The reorg was done without any input from the management team from the director level on down. Not sure how they made informed decisions without this information. We were willing to work with the board but they have not been interested in listening to us.

    This is not a union or employee issue. We just finished year one of a 3 year contract that all parties agreed was fair. As an employee I understand the fiscal tightening and cuts. We expected them and just hoped they would be implemented in a professional manner. The communication breakdown in the CSD is at the leadership level. I applaud my fellow employees for communicating with each other and continued performance of their jobs at a high level despite everything.

    I want to reiterate Kent’s message above about our revenues. Yes they have been severely impacted but nothing like cities or counties around us which are completely different from a CSD. Our revenues remained fairly stable as our tax streams mainly come through property taxes and not sales taxes. We have taken the appropriate belt tightening actions and are not in a financial crisis and are sitting on a large reserve. Is it appropriate that our reserves have doubled in the last few years of economic downturn while our leadership positions remain vacant?

    Like most our organization is not perfect. Compared to other organizations I have worked in we have very few “slackers”. The public perception of lazy, overcompensated government workers does not apply well to the CSD. We are a very small group and we all work as a team and like working with each other and do so effectively. We continue to lose our best employees and are suffering a brain drain. My frustration is I can work harder but not smarter until we have leadership. From an employee perspective John Skeel was nothing but a professional experienced leader. In his 6 months he gathered all the information he could to make informed decisions. He held employee forums and team buildings that had never occurred in my previous several years of employment and they were highly received and supported by the employees anxious to succeed in their jobs. From what I have read in the public comments from the board, John, and in the media it saddens me to see the slander of John’s character and leadership abilities. John said on the channel 13 piece that he was directed to make some cuts and that the board didn’t agree with his plan. I don’t know what those cuts were but it is another example of the board being unwilling to listen to what is best for the CSD from a professional. The board apparently knows better but has never communicated their plan. Now we are stuck with no GM, huge legal fees and are on the hook for a 3 year contract. All this after an exhaustive search to find the perfect GM and the payout of bonuses for finding this man and moving his family here.

    As for the “if I don’t like it I can get another job mentality”. Yes I can get another job and for more pay but not for something I like or am so good at. I love my job and it is the perfect fit for me. I like serving the community. I’m very good at my job and my public interactions with members of the community are almost always positive and supportive. Like the people who live here I am proud of our community and our facilities are awesome for a community this size. I think I can do better. I have no direction at the management level. I have much less access to training and professional development than in the past. The continued success of the CSD depends on the employees and we are getting things done with teamwork and very hard work and a more stressful work environment than necessary. Services will begin to suffer as we cannot continue to succeed with this dysfunctional leadership scenario and current staffing levels.

    I am a very low level grunt frontline employee who just wants to get the job done. I’m just frustrated that I can’t do more and my expertise and abilities do not seem as valued as they should be. I suffer and the community suffers.

    Before someone assumes I was stealing company time by posting this during work time I am on vacation. I was saddened to come home to see all the misinformation and drama.

    These are just my opinions and perceptions. As a public forum everyone needs to understand what is posted here are opinions and if they want the truth they need to reach out for it by attending board meetings and being active in what goes on in their community. I would like to see the board and all involved succeed for the sake of the community.

    A skilled professional

  • Saddened Resident

    I am sad to continue to see employee’s jumping into this situation. I wonder how the jobs they were hired to do and are doing have changed in the past year? Are the parks different? Is the pool different? Are delivering programs different? Has the front desk changed?

    I called the district to ask some basic questions (i suggest other concerned residents do the same or attend a board meeting as employees suggest I plan too!). What I learned is an Interim GM has been appointed and serves as the Leader of the district and is responsible for the day to day operations and direction of the district.

    The Parks Department has had an interim Parks director for the past year – Dave. He is being compensated for being the Parks director. He is responsible for directing his staff on a daily basis. He delevoped the budget for the department and should be making decisions based on that. Questions go to Interim GM fo be answered. I understand part-time seasonal staff has been hired in the parks department to help out.

    I Learned the interim Finance Director is Sherry. She also is being compensated to act as the Director and provide leadership for her department. There is a proposal for a hefty investment in accounting software that the board was told may not require the same staffing level afterwards.

    The Recreation and Administration Departments may have a legitimate complaints because as I understand it, the Interim GM is also the acting Director for them. She is not receiving additional compensation for the additional two hats she is wearing.

    To me it does not seem like the district is without structure and without proper leadership. Do they need permanent Directors, of course, but they are not rutterless.

    So, while I understand staff have a right to their opinion. As a taxpayer I’d rather not hear them complaining and mud slinging. I just want to be able to enjoy the pool, parks, and activites without fearing that we are going to run into angry employees.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Saddened Resident, you are are also entiltled to your opinion, as misinformed as it may be. In light of all the “events” occurring over the last few years the employees have done a superb job of performing their jobs which is serving the public. The public has NEVER been subjected to “angry employees” because they are much more professional than that. Remember that Public Employees are also entitled to First Amendment rights and yes they do have the right to expess their opinions. All the employees really want is a supportive and reasonably confortable work environment. Do not think that the employees are afraid of hard work and that any opinions stated are hinting at that. The main reason that the District appears to have structure is because of the hard working, diligent, professional employees. So there is really no complaining, just requests for transparency, which is really what the public wants too.

      Honest communications and intentions is all that is needed, whether good or bad, at least the employees would be able have trust and understanding.

    • Amazing

      Dear Saddened Resident, I have some facts to go along with your tale.
      1st of all. Dave is not the Interim Parks Director. He is a Lead Supervisor. He is not being compensated as a director, or performing the duty’s of a director. He did not prepare budgets for the entire parks department. Your assumptions are simply not true.
      2nd. The Assistant GM has been the highest paid CSD employee since 2008, higher in annual salary than Wayne Lowery ever recieved in his 20 plus years with the district and will surpass John Skeel in no time. The assistant GM was also given 15 days of paid time off this year in the form of extra compensation, a car allowance and benefits. (Better benefits that John Skeel.I might add.) And you know what, good for her! Your defense of her, compensation, and other departments within the district while bagging on parks and finance departments is baffling. do you think employees in those departments are doing something wrong? I don’t get your point. The Assistant GM is well compensated and has the same style of leadership in the recreation and admin departments as parks. and you will give those a departmens a pass on expressing complaints.
      Lastly, thanks for letting people have opinions. And that brings up the question of why you read these blogs anyway? What do you expect to read? Your utopia.
      The CSD is a mess.

  • Well Said

    Here’s the basics:

    The HR Director should be relieved of her job. She hires on a disparate basis (the board is putting itself at serious risk here). Her record speaks for itself. She has a preference toward her religion. Additionally, she is not well liked for her terse attitude and course nature toward employees.

    The Board oversteps its bounds by “micro managing” the operation, clearly not their prerogative.

    Mr. Skeel’s professionalism is what attracted the board. Now they are protecting the HR manager for some unknown reason. They are clearly, intentionally misstating the nature of this discord. I for one don’t want to pay Mr. Skeel’s income for the rest of his working life while he lives elsewhere, working for someone else. And I don’t believe he wants that either. But if the Board pushes this the wrong way, I’ll guarantee you it is exactly what will happen.

    This issue needs further scrutiny by this paper. We citizens of El Dorado Hills are again being held hostage by the capricious nature of this

    Board’s cronyism and convoluted reasoning.

    I urge as many residents as possible attend this meeting on August 23rd at 6:30 @ CSD on Harvard Way…just follow the throng…hope you get a parking spot close to the building. This is better than “Who Shot JR”.

    And I know someone who ISN’T going to be reelected next time out!

    Report inappropriate comments
    On 8/18/11 at 10:45 AM, BradRice wrote:
    The CSDB’s legal council refuses to allow a deposition of the HR Director prior to the August 23rd meeting. What ARE they hiding?

  • Doug Masters

    I attended CSD meeting on Aug 23rd to “See for myself”…What I saw was arrogance, indifference, incompetence and cronyism on the part of the CSD Board.

    They want to run the district themselves and are micro-managing the new GM to the point of insane.

    Unfortunately, this will result in a wave of lawsuits to DEFEND the CSD’s BOARD MEMBER’S EGOS instead of funding community projects like new parks and athletic fields for the families of EDH.

    I say a RECALL of the entire CSD Board is in order.

  • Retaliation? You be the judge.

    After attending the meeting I do think this is a clear case of retaliation. Not retaliation OF the HR manager but retaliation BY the HR manager. The meeting on Tuesday revealed that Mr. Skeel was asked to cut the budget by $100K. It appears as though when the HR manager got word of the proposal (just that a proposal) of her and Sandy being laid off for budgetary reasons, she or Sandy promptly took it to their friend on the Board. Timing is everything. Why was the Board meeting scheduled for early June moved to June 30th? Someone was trying to get their ducks in a row, put Mr. Skeel on leave , change the budget, and approve the budget the next week while Mr. Skeel was on leave and Sandy was sitting in as the interim GM.

    I must say, I was expecting a scandal to be revealed about Mr. Skeel. That was not the case at all.

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