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Editor's View: Time to clear the air at El Dorado Hills CSD

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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I tend not to personally weigh in on issues facing El Dorado Hills, but given the recent spate of controversy swirling around the Community Services District, I believe it's time I did. If there were only one departure from the CSD, I wouldn't be suspicious. But since there are two with this CSD and another with the Cameron Park CSD, I believe the board for El Dorado Hills should take a hard look at what is happening. For starters, General Manager John Skeel was placed on paid administrative leave, facing a termination of his contract at a board meeting this week. This news comes just months after he was lured here from another state. When hired, the CSD released a glowing press release touting Skeel's credentials and the effort that went into recruiting him. Of course residents are understandably surprised by his sudden departure only six months after his hire. Who was at the center of that hire — and departure? None other than Tracey Lynn Lowry, the human resources director. What's really surprising is Lowry's role in the recently hired (and fired) general manager for the Cameron Park CSD. As reported in the El Dorado Hills Telegraph, earlier this year, Cameron Park General Manager Fred Smith was let go after only a year on the job, a move that sparked controversy among residents. According to our report by correspondent Eric Laughlin, Lowry “is a consultant who also worked with the Cameron Park CSD in the hiring of (the) general manager.” Then the El Dorado Hills board is hit with another burr under the saddle, a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination and age discrimination. Deborah Kiley, the former public information officer, claims that only a few months after taking a promotion, she was terminated. Aside from the board, who is specifically named in the suit? None other than Lowry. Given all these distractions, I believe it's time the district look within for the real problem. To have one person at the center of these three issues is too much to ignore for those serving the board on the El Dorado Hills CSD. Each of you was voted into office to serve the residents. I'm not calling for Skeel's reinstatement or Lowry’s resignation, but I am asking the board to take a hard look within the organization. Telegraph Managing Editor Don Chaddock can be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.