Valley Water CEO Set to Retire

Norma Camacho, the chief executive of Silicon Valley’s largest water district, expects to retire by July 10, according to a letter obtained by San Jose Inside.

The Valley Water boss announced her decision in a Nov. 25 letter to the agency’s seven-member governing board, saying she’ll take a six-week leave up through her final day.

Camacho—whose total pay and benefits amount to $384,000, according to the most recent available data on public employee salary website Transparent California—became interim CEO in March 2016 after her predecessor Beau Goldie was pushed out. In a split vote more than a year later—and four months after the Coyote Creek flood displaced thousands of residents and caused $100 million in property damage—the board knocked the “interim” off Camacho’s title, praising her ability to lead the complex organization.

Camacho’s Nov. 25 letter thanks the board of directors for giving her a chance to lead the agency and praises her team for achieving several “recent notable accomplishments,” including obtaining full funding for the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline project and breaking ground on Upper Llagas flood protection infrastructure.

Source: Valley Water

“I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to oversee these amazing accomplishments, all of which were ‘powered’ through by the outstanding and driven professionals at Valley Water,” she wrote.

Camacho, who did not immediately return a request for comment, applauded Valley Water for establishing itself as “a statewide leader” in water management.

“Although I would like to continue to be a part of Valley Water’s maturation process,” Camacho wrote, “both myself and my family are also maturing rapidly, making the remaining time I have with them very precious.”

The next CEO will shepherd the agency’s $5.6 billion five-year capital improvement plan, which will create an estimated 20,000 private-sector jobs by upgrading infrastructure that provides flood protection and drinking water to nearly 2 million South Bay residents.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. It will be interesting to see what kind of ties the outgoing CEO will have to all the companies salivating at contracts worth $5.6 billion dollars!

    Will our intrepid reporters dig into that?

    They still can’t figure out who the mystery homicide victim in the back of the Prius is………

  2. Perhaps Ms Camacho was entangled in some of the past dramas at the water company, but I watch some of her presentations and interviews, and frankly I found Ms Camacho capable and professional. Best of luck.

  3. What’s next for the Golden Spigot? You screw, you get promoted. She screwed up Anderson Dam and caused the Feds to force draining of the reservoir. She ran a collaborative with environmentalist to the ground and now Valley Water is paying millions to clean it up. The rumor around us here at Valley Water is the Board will appoint Melanie Richardson as the Interim CEO. That will happen in a few days while they interview candidates to replace the retiring CEO Norma Camacho. Yes, that same Melanie Richardson that was embroiled in contract scandal with a consultant, RMC Water, where her husband is a vice president. When the interview concludes, the elected Board of Directors will appoint another Valley Water veteran, Rick Callender, as their permanent CEO. All personnel allegations against Rick Callender have been under wraps. Nobody wants to look at his long wrap sheet before giving him the nod because this dude is in cahoots with a lot of the board members. As the shuffle goes on, Melanie Richardson will appoint her lapdog, Rechelle Blank as the Acting Chief Operating Officer for Watersheds. Meanwhile, she has lured back another retiree, Sue Turner, back to her old job at Valley Water. What is Sue Turner doing for $65,000 per year at Valley Water? Pushing files around for reals estate deals. Yup!

    One more thing to come. Keep an eye on the rising water rates. Rates to clean up all the personnel mess, paying off contractors working on water treatment plans, maintaining cozy offices for one of the long time board members at the sprawling water district campus, and shoring up retirement benefits for employees so they don’t squawk.

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