Water District Considers Hiring Exec Who Spurred National Conversation on Trans Issues

Dysfunction at the Santa Clara Valley Water District prompted departures of upper managers in recent years, most notably in CEO Beau Goldie’s forced retirement. That was after Goldie’s conflicts of interest led ethics chief LeeAnn Pelham to resign, but before the district’s chief administrative officer, Jesus Nava, left last fall amidst allegations of general creepiness. After months of searching for Nava’s successor, the district has found a high-profile replacement. Susan Stanton boasts a 30-year record of public service and a claim to fame as a champion of transgender acceptance. Her decision in 2007 to pursue sex reassignment surgery cost her a city manager job in Largo, Florida, and turned her into something of a celebrity. The Catskill Mountains native made international headlines and garnered interviews with Montel Williams and Larry King, then became the subject of a widely watched CNN documentary. Details of her dramatic coming-out can be found on her extensive Wikipedia page, which cites 57 references and gives the impression that Stanton has put considerable effort into curating her public profile. These days, Stanton’s name is linked more to public-sector management than the equal rights movement. After helping the Florida town of Lake Worth steer clear of bankruptcy during the Great Recession, she moved on to the Monterey County city of Greenfield, where she bumped up the Standard & Poor’s bond rating from “BB” to a respectable “A-minus.” The water district offered Stanton a $232,502 annual salary to assume the role of chief operating officer of administrative services, which would put her in charge of 180 subordinates and a sizable share of the water district’s $520 million budget. The board of directors votes on her hire next week.

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7 Comments

  1. She seems like an accomplished administrator and precisely what the Golden Spigot needs: “the Palm Beach Post noted that during her tenure “she dismissed low-performing employees and brought in smart, eager wonks. She revised union contracts that were stacked against the city. She prodded cities that owed Lake Worth for contracted services. She saved Lake Worth $2 million a year on its police and fire contracts.”

    Would be interesting to know why she was dismissed from Lake Worth, FL after 2 years, but executive turnover for reasons other than performance often happens.

    She’s been at Greenfield for 4 years and probably time to move on to something more challenging.

    • I don’t really care that much about what she can do for SCVWD’s balance sheet. It’s government. I expect to overpay.
      Just give me the service for which you’re gouging me fercryingoutloud and I’ll shut up. Somehow though I have a hard time picturing a transgender being particularly hardnosed with that most sympathized with segment of our society- “the homeless”- and seeing to it that they have zero encampments on SCVWD property. I’ll be quite happy if Ms. Stanton surprises me and proves me to be a prejudging, stereotyping bigot.

  2. With a record like, that what could our water district a model of big government inefficiency, want with this kind of person?

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