WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa hires from within for utilities post



Santa Rosa conducted a nationwide search for its new utilities director, but it tapped someone close to home for the job.


Effective Wednesday, David Guhin, 37, will replace Miles Ferris, who retires this week after 27 years with the city.

Guhin has worked for the city for nine years, most recently as deputy director of operations at the city’s regional wastewater treatment on Laguna Road.

City Manager Kathy Millison said Guhin is a thoughtful, collaborative leader in whom she has great confidence.

“I have been most impressed with his ability to convey his experience and capability along with a well-articulated future vision for the department,” Millison said in a release.

Guhin grew up in Davis, got his civil engineering degree in South Dakota and worked for a private engineering firm in Virginia, designing private and public water and wastewater systems before joining the city.

Santa Rosa’s Utilities Department makes up more than half the city budget. Its $122 million budget is larger than the city’s entire general fund, out of which police, fire, planning and other services are funded.

The department is responsible for providing clean water and sewer service for more than 52,000 businesses and households in Santa Rosa, in addition to sewer service in Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol and some unincorporated areas of the county.

Guhin said the system he’s inheriting is in excellent shape thanks to the community’s long-standing commitment to maintain it. One of his priorities will be to communicate to ratepayers, who have seen their rates more than double in the past decade, why keeping the system in good shape is a good investment.

“Every glass of water you drink from the faucet, every time you flush the toilet, 24/7, seven days a week, it’s there and it works,” Guhin said. “Explaining why it’s important to maintain that system is important.”

Details of Guhin’s contract still were being finalized. The salary range for the post is $135,360 to $169,320 a year.

Guhin also is vice president of the board of directors of the Redwood Empire Food Bank and co-chairman of the local organizing committee for the Amgen Tour of California. He is married and is an avid cyclist.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. OnTwitter @citybeater

6 Responses to “Santa Rosa hires from within for utilities post”

  1. Caller says:

    Snarky is clueless, just another forum regular who complains about anything the government does, without understanding what he’s talking about.

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  2. citygrunt says:

    Wow Snarky. Do you actually know David?

    The current City Manager and Assistant City Manager were both hired from the outside.

    The decision on a new Director of Utilities could have gone to either an external or internal candidate. David DOES have the skills, talent, brains and temperament needed for the position. He is a very sharp guy and should be a great director.

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  3. Snarky says:

    Here is another example of the result of “hiring from within.”

    Today in Texas along the US-Mexican International Border… FOUR American cops have been charged with drug smuggling and cooperating with the Mexican drug gangs.

    How does that fit into the “hire from within” concept??????????

    The criminal cops are sons of that regions high ranking law enforcement cops. The criminal cops were essentially “hired from within” …. as their daddy’s were already high ranking cops.

    The result of “hiring from within” is corruption and criminality. And thats the way Sonoma County likes it.

    Speaking of this topic, where is Grapevines and what might he say about the local Santa Rosa Junior College cop who is right now being prosecuted for theft of public funds over a years long period of time. In fact, the thefts were happening right under the nose of the so called Junior College “Police Chief” who… will … not…be… fired….of… course.

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  4. Snarky says:

    The “good old boy” network of Sonoma County can only thrive by “hiring from within.” THAT is why they did it. It has zero to do with skills or talent. The corruption cannot continue with outsiders in the mix.

    Case in point: the dangerous Oakland Police dept which was just seized by the Federal Courts in today’s news. Notice that the OPD routinely “hired from within.”

    Los Angeles Times, Online
    December 13, 2012

    “Oakland Police Department Placed Under Court Control”

    “A federal judge has placed Oakland Police Department reform efforts under his direct control, citing nearly a decade of inadequate attempts to comply with a legal settlement in a case that unmasked systemic police brutality and racial profiling.”"


    Time to break the “good old boy” network in Sonoma County. Demand talent and skill rather than settle for “local.”

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  5. Cedric Pigg says:

    David is a great guy and will do a great job. It’s nice to see the City hiring from within.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

  6. Snarky says:

    The word to use:


    And the results are the same. Defects.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 19

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