Interim Water District CEO Gives Top Administrator the Boot

Ever since former CEO Beau Goldie slid into retirement in January, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has mostly flowed under the radar. But the legendary ’Spigot—responsible for 1.9 million people’s drinking water—never really runs dry on juicy stories. Last Friday, interim CEO Norma Camacho canned the district’s chief administrative officer, Jesus Nava. This was no small decision. Nava oversaw HR, union negotiations, finance, security, aspects of water utility and watersheds, and the public agency’s internship program. That last task became a frequent water cooler topic, as Nava apparently had a reputation as a “skirt chaser,” according to multiple sources at the District. In one peculiar action, he reportedly had a window installed in the cubicle next to his office to better keep an eye on employee comings and goings. Despite rumblings of harassment complaints, none apparently resulted in any discipline. That could be because the District has still not hired a new director for the Office of Ethics and Corporate Governance since LeeAnn Pelham’s resignation in the spring of 2015—she was reportedly fed up with Goldie’s interference. But the main reason for Nava’s exit, according to sources, was his inability to get along with Camacho, who was picked as interim CEO over Nava, an at-will employee. Camacho’s move allows her to continue to distance herself from the good-old-boys environment under Goldie’s watch—he did, after all, hire Nava four years ago. Reached by phone Tuesday, Nava disputed that his interactions with female colleagues had anything to do with his departure from the District, noting that he “didn’t know” if he was fired but was certain he had no documented discipline or performance-related issues. He tried to spin the parting as a “mutual agreement” but didn’t have much to say when asked why he’d give up a $220,000 annual salary.

Bonus Note: Remember that whole conflict of interest scandal involving RMC, which included smoking gun emails by top staff admitting that former CEO Beau Goldie violated district rules? The board has still not hired an auditor almost a year after it vowed to thoroughly vet all RMC business and billing.

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  1. WHAT? $220,000 salary? What in the world does he do each day to be worth earning that kind of money? I don’t really care about the juicy stories…I can’t believe this guy makes $220,000 a year.

  2. plus benefits, so add another 150k, plus no doubt he will cash in pers so that will be another 150k yr , plus he will get hired by another city or pers agency, now she needs to rid of few managers, that have screwed employees over for yrs, and managers that lied about the boardroom, Jesus being one of them.

  3. Jesus Nava is one of the most passionate and authentic leaders that I have met in the public sector. He has a strong commitment for people and one of the few leaders who is highly respected by labor. Jesus is a change agent and supports staff to solve problems that get in the way of productivity. He thinks outside of the box and is innovative. Jesus is the public sector version of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He takes a stand for what is right and staff love working with him. Jesus will make a difference in any organization that is lucky enough to have him on their executive management team!

    • WHOA!

      I’ve said some immodest things on my resume, but . . . OH, WOW!

      Cure cancer? End world hunger? Bring about world peace? No problem.


      I’M IN!

    • I’m in total agreement with the district staff’s comment. Jesus, lifted the moral and spirits of a lot of the staff that were feeling like the District was no longer the best place to be working for. Once again, decisions made to fit only ego and the needs of management and not what is best for the district as a whole. Very disappointing to see a GREAT leader be let go. Jesus your presence and genuine caring for people in general will be missed. No other executive/manager has nor will ever come close to your work ethics. Jesus truly cared for the employees.

  4. Those of us who pay particular attention to the goings-on at the Water District’s palatial digs have heard that it has to do with the role and effectiveness of the local government liaison office.

    • all know that Nava was let go because not only of his tail chasing the barely legal district gals but because of his support for Baratz

    • Dale, are you still wearing your Klan hood while chasing the person who outed you over a decade ago. Different decade, same old vendetta. You and Trump have a lot in common. March on for your people!

  5. Nava is superior than Jesus and Gandhi. his warm touch all over the interns that stop in to see the AV was better than Black Electrical tape that SHOULD NOT be a factor in a Full Audio Visual System Upgrade disguised as HD Broadcast with our tax payer monies of 600k either . At the end of the day WE ALL KNOW it will not just be 600k!!

      • Nava was no Jesus. jesus led Najon down that primrose patch into the perk ponds and when Najon would not sanction his touch of the young ones he rebelled just like Beau did when Veg Management drones would not work on his house anyone. the same happened when rental AV equipment wasted public funds at the love fest.

  6. Jesus was a great leader at the district. He cared about staff, interns and staff of all levels. He helped employees tremove obstacles so they can get their job done. He didn’t play political games and was very fair to staff. Jesus, you will be missed by all!

  7. Holy polarized workplace, Batman! With the internal dissension demonstrated by the diametrically opposed views posted by these bloggers, it’s a wonder that any water at all flows out of The Golden Spigot.

    • It’s not a wonder, but you would think so if you read the junior high gossip that passes for news at the San Jose Inside. Every workplace has issues, for sure. No company is perfect. But the majority of the folks working for the Water District are dedicated and hard working and you know what they do? They make sure you have good water coming out of your tap. Every. Single. Day. The whole Golden Spigot nonsense is petty and insulting to what those folks do day in and day out.

  8. So sad that you must print such libel about a good man. Mr. Nava is one of the most kind and gentle persons I have known. He always was available to help employees and he was held in high esteem. We all miss him! He made many positive changes that improved our lives at work. He is the kind of leader that government needs. Instead of lies you should be praising the improvements he made.

  9. I met Mr. Jesus Nava during my time as an intern for SCVWD. Jesus Nava made an impressionable mark at SCVWD by being a caring and compassionate leader. He always made time to speak with his employees at all levels of the organization. He readily offered assistance to those that needed it and served as mentor to me. Jesus Nava is an admirable person that I, and many others, have been lucky to meet.

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