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Kelley not seeking water agency’s top job


Paul Kelley, the recently retired Sonoma County supervisor, has confirmed he is not among those seeking the general manager’s post at the county water agency.

The county is again looking to fill the position a year after the first hiring process for the job stalled amid political intrigue and leaks about the job candidates.

Paul Kelley

Much of that speculation surrounded Kelley, who had announced early last year his intention not to seek reelection to the Board of Supervisors. A veteran of water issues during his board tenure, Kelley was widely rumored to be angling for the water agency post.

Those reports, plus a number of candidate withdrawals and other leaks of confidential information, resulted in supervisors suspending the job search and filling the position on a interim basis.

Kelley, whose 16 years in office representing the north county ended this week, continues to be mum on whether he was ever a candidate for the job during the first go-round.

However, he said Wednesday he is not a candidate in the current recruitment process for the water agency post.

“At this point I am hunting for a job,” said Kelley, 47, who added that he’s looking into consultant work on water and transportation issues for government and businesses.

Last year, he was appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Water Commission. He is also serving a two-year term as president of the Association of California Water Agencies.

“I’m honored to have people think that I am a qualified water expert,” he said. “But I have not applied for the water agency general manager position.”

The agency has about 200 employees and a budget of $185 million. The general manager position has a salary range of $175,902 to $213,804.

The post has been held on an interim basis for the past year by Grant Davis, who joined the agency three years ago as its assistant general manager.

Davis has applied for the general manager position, according to a source familiar with his plans.

Davis, who formerly served as executive director of The Bay Institute and as an aide to Rep. Lynn Woolsey, said Thursday he could not discuss reports of his candidacy for the top job.

“Most job searches are confidential,” he said, “and I have to respect that process that’s underway.”

About 40 candidates submitted applications for the position before the Dec. 15 deadline, according to Norm Roberts, whose Beverly Hills-based consulting firm is handling the recruitment for the county.

Roberts said he will meet with supervisors Jan. 18 to review the applications and set up supervisors’ interviews with the top candidates, a step he expected would begin in February.

The agency supplies water to the cities of Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma and Sonoma, and the Valley of the Moon, North Marin and Marin Municipal water districts.

6 Responses to “Kelley not seeking water agency’s top job”

  1. MR 45 says:

    We don’t need another manager without engineering experience. The job of leading the Sonoma County Water Agency should require a Civil Engineering background with management experience; just like the Sonoma County Auditor is required to be a CPA.

    Grant Davis is a lobbyist (including perhaps letters on his own behalf on this thread?), not an engineer. The qualifications were changed for political reasons with the prospect of Paul Kelley continuing in the County’s hire. The Board of Supervisors should reinstitute that to head the Water Agency you need to be an engineer.

    Also, before the County hires Paul Kelley for “consulting”, they should reform County policy with at least a 1 year hiatus of rehiring public officials and retirees. Too many former Supervisors and County retirees are continuing to feed at the trough creating a potential conflict whereby serving Supervisors decisions are shaped by the prospect of future employment by County Departments.

  2. tom haverford says:

    I don’t see why people would thumbdown SoCo Voters post. Interim GM has been in the position and seems that the water co hasn’t done anything bad? Why not save some tax money? unless there is some hotshot water guy why not give it to the interim GM?

    Grant Davis from what i’ve seen of him has done a good job, and would do well if given the position permanently.

  3. bile waters says:

    The Sonoma County hiring process is slightly lower than the SOPRANO’s methodology, there are NO lower ETHICS exhibited anywhere! Of course the Soprano’s DO have a CODE of ethics….Sonoma County managers are the most unprofessional, self centered group you will ever find; we lower level employees actually CARE about the community and the citizens welfare…good luck people..

  4. SoCo voter says:

    I don’t know why the county is spending time and money searching for a new general manager. Grant Davis has done a fine job as interim manager, just give him the job and save tax payer money.

  5. RB says:

    This is a HUGE win for the people of Sonoma County, the Russian River, and anyone who needs water to survive. This man has proven over the past decade that he has no qualms whatsoever when it comes to destroying the environment. To have him in charge of our water would have been a disaster for everyone. Good luck with your job hunt, Mr. Kelley. I hope and pray it takes both you and your environmental ignorance far away from us. Try searching around the Gulf Coast area. You should feel right at home living next to an oil-polluted body of water.

  6. ODB414 says:

    The Water Agency needs a seasoned water industry professional as their leader; NOT a politician.