Valley Water District Loses Yet Another High-Ranking Executive

In the last two and a half years, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has seen CEO Beau Goldie’s forced retirement, ethics director LeeAnn Pelham’s resignation over conflicts of interest and chief administrative officer Jesus Nava’s departure amid allegations of sexual harassment. Now the Golden Spigot has lost yet another high-ranking executive—barely 10 months after her hire. Chief Administrative Officer Susan Stanton, Nava’s short-lived successor, left a little more than a month ago on less-than-amicable terms. Sources inside the district say Stanton, who has yet to respond to phone calls or a text message, butted heads with virtually everyone in her path, including her own secretary. Stanton’s carefully crafted Wikipedia page showed promise. In addition to 30 years of public sector management, the Catskill Mountains native was known as an advocate for transgender acceptance, and featured prominently in a CNN documentary on the subject. Her sex reassignment surgery in 2007 reportedly cost her a city manager gig and thrust her into the national spotlight, landing her interviews with Montel Williams and Larry King, among other TV hosts and journalists. Stanton’s advocacy was apparently a far cry from intersectional, however. Multiple sources say she made racist asides about some of the district’s African American employees, including managerial peer Rick Callender, the district’s external affairs exec who declined to comment. A few of the agency’s critics saw Stanton’s departure as symptom of deeper problems—an understandable assumption, given the district’s history of dysfunction. In emails to Fly, they claim Stanton was looking “too closely” at conflicts of interest involving Melanie Richardson, head of flood control at the district, and procurement and billing irregularities involving contractor RMC Water and Environment, which was previously owned by Richardson’s husband. However, district staffers who spoke with Fly insisted that Stanton had zero authority over RMC work and her problems stemmed from her inability to get along with anyone.

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8 Comments

  1. Rubbish. I worked closely with Susan Stanton. She was was a thoughtful, caring, and ethical person. She never said an ill word about anyone..

  2. I don’t know how you could say that “Susan couldn’t get along with anyone.” This is just not true. Susan was kind to me and many others. She was honest and straight forward which I appreciated.

  3. Never mind the wasted tax dollars and the fact that this agency fails to keep the waterways clear of obstructive debris, trash, and homeless and that they have failed to make improvements that would free thousands of taxpayers from the burden of living in a designated flood zone. All these things are of secondary importance.
    The important thing is that SCVWD is progressive and recognized it’s primary responsibility of serving the transgender community.

  4. > the Catskill Mountains native was known as an advocate for transgender acceptance, and featured prominently in a CNN documentary on the subject. Her sex reassignment surgery in 2007 reportedly cost her a city manager gig . . . .

    Translation: SCVWD is NOT serious about running a water district.

    Just like the NFL and the 49ers are no longer serious about playing football.

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