Board begins reinstatement of Skeel

Currently there is “no immediate timetable of John’s return”
By: Eric Laughlin, Telegraph correspondent
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The first in a series of meetings took place last week as part of the process to reinstate the El Dorado Hills Community Services general manager who remains on administrative leave. Although the board earlier this month voted unanimously to suspend termination proceedings against John Skeel, he and an ad-hoc committee consisting of two board members will continue to work out their differences before resuming his duties as GM. District president and committee member Guy Gertsch released a press release Friday, stating the first meeting was productive and laid the groundwork for subsequent meetings. Gertsch states that there is “currently no immediate timetable of John’s return.” Gertsch also reports in the release that Skeel and the committee agreed that the first order of business will be correcting the misperception of Human Resources Manager Tracey Lynn Lowry. Gertsch goes on to state the public allegations against her are “simply untrue” and that he, Skeel and the rest of the board are disappointed that she became “villainized.” “(Skeel’s) lawyers were slinging those allegations at the public hearing and that’s wrong,” Gertsch said in a telephone interview Saturday. “He did nothing to stop it and there’s some damage done from that that needs to be corrected.” One of the allegations against Lowry was that she hired or promoted her friends and family members. In a story published online last week, the Telegraph reports that Lowry’s husband Joel came on to perform IT-related website updates on a volunteer basis in October 2010, just days after the district laid off a part-time administrative assistant who handled those same duties. Acting GM Sandi Kukkola confirmed that Joel Lowry did perform website updates for free until March of this year, when he began getting paid at the suggestion of the district’s IT manager. Gertsch said Joel Lowry did not replace the laid off assistant, since he was only performing one part of that employee’s former work load. Gertsch went on to say the layoff was purely for economic reasons and that Tracey Lynn Lowry would not have the authority as HR manager to layoff anyone. Skeel said the committee meeting with Gertsch and board/committee member Tony Rogozinski was very positive, but that there is still a lot left to discuss. “I am looking forward to a fresh start with the board, along with a new and revised outlook that will result in a better working relationship, improved teamwork and outcomes that everyone is looking for,” Skeel wrote in an e-mail. “I truly believe that as public and stressful as this process was, that ultimately we will all be stronger and better for it. I certainly never want to go through anything like this ever again.” Skeel said that although no timeline has been offered, he hopes to be back in his office by the end of the month.