CAMERON PARK — The Cameron Park Community Services District Board of Directors held a special meeting on Friday, April 8, to deal with critical issues that couldn’t wait until the next regular meeting on April 20. One action item involved naming former El Dorado County supervisor Rusty Dupray as interim general manager of the CSD.
Fred Smith manager for 10 months
The most critical issue was who was running the district since the board voted on March 24 by a 3-2 majority not to renew the contract of Fred Smith as general manager.
At the April 21, 2010, board meeting Smith was officially hired as general manager. The position had been vacant since the previous general manager, Tammy Mefford, was fired in 2008.
According to his contract, Smith’s salary was $85,500 to start, with 25.5 days annually for vacation or sick leave, and a 7 percent contribution to PERS toward retirement. In addition, the CSD paid for health, dental and vision premiums and travel expenses. As general manager, Smith’s contract provided that he work in excess of 40 hours a week without additional compensation.
The contract stated the board “shall conduct a special closed session with the General Manager to discuss its initial performance evaluation of the General Manager no later than November 3, 2010.” The initial evaluation was held at a special meeting of the board in closed session on Nov. 22, 2010.
Under the contract, Smith’s evaluation included, but was not limited to, 10 points: 1) relationship with the Board of Directors; 2) relationship with the community; 3) relationship with other public agencies; 4) relationship with staff and independent contractors; 5) leadership qualities; 6) accomplishment of specified goals and objectives; 7) quality and quantity of work accomplished; 8] demonstration of initiative, leadership and supervision; 9) communication skills; 10) judgment and decision-making.
Upon receiving a positive evaluation, Smith was to receive a 2.5 percent raise retroactive to April 1, 2010.
Smith continued as general manager until the board voted on March 24 not to renew his contract. Board President Scott McNeil, Directors Alan Clarke and Greg Stanton voted not to renew; Vice President Shiva Frentzen and Director Richard Green voted to continue the contract.
The next day, the last day under the contract the board could take such action, Smith was informed of the board’s decision and told he would be on administrative leave until his contract expires on May 10.
Some members of the public protested the board’s action and supported Smith at subsequent board meetings and by letters to the editor of the Mountain Democrat.
Rusty Dupray accepts interim position
While the board was in closed section for 20 minutes at the special meeting on April 8, Rusty Dupray, dressed in suit-and-tie, chatted with early arrivals. McNeil came to ask him to join the board and within a few minutes the board entered the hearing room and was seated. Dupray joined the table, sitting at the end. McNeil announced that the board had unanimously selected Dupray as interim general manager and that Dupray had accepted the position.
Dupray thanked the board and the community and spelled out his short-term goals: 1) improve relationships between the board and community for the good of Cameron Park; 2) provide day-to-day leadership; 3) get a handle on finances and prepare a balanced budget for 2011-12; 4) resolve the writ with the county for the CSD’s share of property taxes; 5) help recruit a general manager.
“Hopefully, I’m the right guy for this time, and let’s move forward,” he said.
Through the remainder of the meeting, Dupray guided the board at appropriate intervals.
New skateboard subcommittee established
The first knotty issue involved the skatepark subcommittee. McNeil said he had presumed the ad hoc committee had finished and disbanded when the board decided to close the skatepark at Christa McAuliffe Park. The ad hoc committee had consisted of Frentzen and Green from the board and representatives from other agencies and the public. McNeil suggested the matter be put off to the next regular board meeting. Frentzen insisted that it couldn’t wait, the issue was on the agenda for action, and urged a vote then.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Joe Tyler told the board that Christa McAuliffe Park is his neighborhood park, but he takes his young children to other parks because “they see and hear things they shouldn’t” from the skateboarders.
Green, who was chair of the committee, said the committee had been actively working with Rescue Union School District Superintendent Terry Wenig and Lt. Bob Ashworth from the Sheriff’s Department. “We need a long-term plan, a way to communicate back and forth. We need to set new rules and guidelines. Ownership of the issue belongs squarely on the CSD,” he said.
There was a question whether Green and Bill Carey, a member of the public who served on the ad hoc committee, had resigned from the committee or been removed by President McNeil. Both men acknowledged they had resigned, but indicated they felt they had no choice.
Dupray told the board members he would have counseled them not to disband the skateboard subcommittee. After much discussion, the board voted 5-0 to create a skateboard subcommittee as a standing committee that reports directly to the board. Green and Clarke were appointed co-chairs of the subcommittee, with other positions open.
Search for permanent general manager
During the last search for a general manager, a Human Resources consultant was retained to screen the resumés. McNeil reported he had spoken to her about the possibility of using her services again. At the time Smith was hired, more than 60 applications were received. Dupray said resumés are already starting to come into the office.
The previous ad hoc committee to search for a permanent general manager was not formally dissolved. Dupray recommended the board do so. On a 5-0 vote, the board disbanded the previous committee, followed by another 5-0 vote to appoint Green and Clarke as the new subcommittee. Clarke said he wouldn’t be able to serve on both committees and asked Frentzen if she could take the position on the skateboard subcommittee. Frentzen agreed, and after a series of 5-0 votes the memberships were straightened out.
CSDA governance workshop
Frentzen and McNeil attended a governance workshop sponsored by the Community Services Districts Association. Frentzen gave a capsule report from the manual, including an admonition to board members not to get distracted by day-to-day operations and to be aware that communication is not just by words, but also voice tones and body language.
Dupray answers call to serve
At the end of the meeting, McNeil and board members thanked Dupray for stepping in as interim general manager and several members of the audience expressed their appreciation and approval. He received a heartfelt round of applause. For a moment, everyone was together.
After the meeting, Dupray said, “It was a proud moment for me. Every vote was 5-0.”
In a subsequent telephone interview, Dupray said that a subcommittee of the CSD board, McNeil and Stanton, had talked to people in the community about who they would recommend as interim general manager. “They told me my name came up in different places and asked me if I would be willing.
Dupray served two terms on the CSD board, from 1993 to 2000, and two terms on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, from 2001 to 2008, representing District 1. He chaired each board three times. As supervisor, he served on the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Local Agency Formation Commission, the Transit Commission and other county and regional committees.
He retired from Sac Metro in 2009 with the rank of captain. After retiring from Sac Metro, he became director of Government Relations for the district. “I’ll be cutting back on those activities for now,” he said.
His interim position with the Cameron Park CSD is part-time, 20 hours or less. He wants to do a lot in a short amount of time. “I can hit the ground running,” he said.
He wants to lift the writ of mandate by the court from a lawsuit the CSD filed against the county to reallocate percentages of property taxes to the CSD. “I want to settle the lawsuit and negotiate the split.”
He wants to pursue annexation of a subdivision near David West Park south of Highway 50 for park and recreation services that was filed with LAFCO and not followed through. “The residents there use our services now,” he said.
For board records, he said he would like to use conformed agendas that contain the minutes of a meeting similar to what the county Board of Supervisors does.
He said he wants to get a handle on the finances and “kick-start revenues.” Fire services account for 70 percent of the budget.
Dupray said, “I want to instill a sense of pride in the CSD in our community. Last year I testified before the board that the fighting among board members and the problems between the board and the community have to be resolved. I know it sounds corny, but I feel it is my civic duty to step up and help when asked. I love Cameron Park and want it to succeed and grow.”
All five board members were present: President McNeil, Vice President Frentzen and Directors Clarke, Green and Stanton.