Social Distancing Complicates Valley Water’s CEO Search

Valley Water CEO Norma Camacho is set to retire July 10, but with the coronavirus outbreak forcing so many aspects of society online, the district’s board members have had to get a little creative in conducting their search for a successor.

The first round of interviews for Camacho’s replacement commenced last week via the videoconferencing platform Zoom. But while going virtual keeps things in line with social distancing guidelines, some Valley Water board members say it also presents challenges.

“The most important decision any board makes, even above all policy, is hiring or firing the CEO or the general manager,” board member Gary Kremen tells Fly. “When you rush that process of the most important task, and we have to due to the situation, maybe you won’t get an optimal result.”

Kremen says he has concerns about the impersonality of doing an interview via Zoom, noting that it can be hard to examine a candidate’s body language or “gauge their level of shiftiness.” However, he noted that at this time, the only alternative would be to wear a mask and sit at least six feet apart from other board members and the interviewee.

Board colleague Barbara Keegan echoed Kremen’s concerns about the difficulties in evaluating candidates’ personalities over video chat.

However, she added, it’s not impossible.

“Obviously these are unusual times and so we just have to do the best we can under the circumstances,” she remarked. “We need to replace our existing CEO. We really don’t have other options. We can’t leave the position vacant and I’m sure we’re not the only organization that’s going to be grappling with this kind of thing.”

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3 Comments

  1. So, now the Golden Spigot hierarchy can spend even more time and money looking for a new CEO to keep the Golden Spigot golden.
    That sucking sound you hear is Valley Water, VTA, Cal Train, HSR, yet another plan to house thousands of schizophrenic drug addicts in yet another plan sure to fail, all of whom are sucking the taxpayer dry, with no positive results.

  2. Seems appropriate that the CEO wear a mask. After all , Valley Water routinely engages in highway robbery.

  3. Well said.
    Decades of dam failures, unsafe unreliable water supply and flood control. Shame on them to blame SJC for the recent Coyote Creek flooding. NO Accountability!
    Enough is enough after decades (2x 15 years) of misused, mismanaged taxpayers’ hard earned $$. Decades of Under delivered, over budgeted, defect deliverables. They sure know how to fool voters over and over again. Exhorbitant executive and management pays, bonuses, lifetime full medical and retirement for employees + family. Under the current setup, each employee collects hundreds of thousands of $$ (sickleave cashout) if not upward $.5 million in the case of executive and upper management, upon exiting Valley Water. The pays and benefits are guaranteed regardless of economic conditions, while taxpayers cannot short a dime on property tax or risk foreclosure!! How long can taxpayers continue to bear such enormous costs? Not sustainable.
    Anderson Dam/Reservoir is not a $576-millions project as proposed. It’s a billion $$ problem. This reservoir along 9 other reservoirs owned by Valley Water and Almaden Lake are saturated with and continually collect carcinogenic mercury contaminants that the Valley Water has bandaid/masked the problem for decades. Regulatory agencies have notified Valley Water potential dam failures and mercury ladden waters decades back during ex-ceo Stan Williams era. But Valley Water has been operating as usual one ceo after another. Valley Water has spent taxpayers’ hard earned $$ on lavish political campaigns, trips, propaganda, lobbying, and exhorbitant pays and benefits instead on projects it promised to deliver. By private business standard, Valley Water would have been in jail and refunded taxpayers’s funds it collected all these decades of reckless and mismanagment. Time to break up Valley Water’s monopoly game!! Vote them all out!

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