Schafer Returned To Sanitary District Board
In a move that will likely surprise very few people who have been following the drama at the Costa Mesa Sanitary District for the past couple years, today the Board of Directors selected former director and former Costa Mesa Mayor Arlene Schafer to replace Jim Fitzpatrick for the remaining two years of his term. You can read the Daily Pilot coverage of the meeting and results HERE.
At a special meeting today the four members of the board interviewed the six finalists in their process to determine a successor to Fitzpatrick - Schafer, former Costa Mesa Mayor Linda Dixon, former Sanitary District Board member Dan Worthington, Planning Consultant Jeffrey Harlan, Executive Search Consultant Al Morelli and Assistant General Manager of the West Basin Municipal Water District in Carson, Shivaji Desmukh.
Following the interviews, where each Director asked a couple questions of each applicant, the directors began the process of nominating candidates. Dixon was first nominated, but received no second. Schafer was nominated by President Jim Ferryman and was seconded by Director Art Perry. When directors Mike Scheafer and Bob Ooten cast their votes for her she was chosen unanimously to fill the job that she held before Fitzpatrick defeated her in the election two years ago.
LET THE SCREECHING BEGIN
This will certainly generate a lot of negative comments from those in the community who felt Fitzpatrick was ousted from the Sanitary District Board. Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick created his own problem when he intentionally, and against solid legal advice, stubbornly held to incompatible positions simultaneously. And, he compounded that offense by doing it twice.
ON PAPER SCHAFER WAS THE EASY CHOICE
If you just read resumes Schafer was clearly the most highly qualified. She has served in this role before - for years - is well-known and highly respected in the sanitation management community. For that reason alone her choice should be no surprise. She will have virtually no "start up time" - she knows the business and how the Sanitary District operates.
Some will say this is a missed opportunity to bring in a fresh perspective to the Board - a thought with which I agree. However, that what happened with Fitzpatrick and that went very, very badly. I don't know whether that played any part in the selection the Directors made this morning, but wouldn't be surprised if it did.
SWEARING-IN ON WEDNESDAY
Schafer will be sworn in to her new/old job at the regular meeting of the Sanitary District Board on Wednesday, February 27th. Her term will expire in 2014.