Flushing the GM

Del Paso Manor Water District fires general manager who raised issues to SN&R

This story has been updated and expanded from its print version.

The Del Paso Manor Water District board fired its general manager a week after he spoke to SN&R about the embattled district’s struggles.

The board, which runs a district that provides water to roughly 1,800 customers in the Arden-Arcade area, scheduled a special meeting for Dec. 26 at 10 a.m. Just three board members—Marissa Burt, John Lenahan and Greg Schneider—attended, with another on vacation and a fifth having resigned in November. Shortly after opening the meeting, the board went into an approximately 90-minute closed session. Afterward, the board’s legal counsel, Erin Dervin of Churchwell White LLP, announced G.M. Leo Havener had been fired for cause.

Dervin said she was restricted from elaborating due to confidentiality reasons, but told SN&R that Havener’s employment agreement contained “a number of reasons which would give cause to the district to terminate the general manager.”

Meeting attendees saw Havener’s firing differently.

“I heard it was because he talked to you,” district resident Carol Rose told SN&R.

Since being elected in November 2019, Burt and Lenahan have clashed continuously with district staff. Former general manager Debra Sedwick and two staffers quit May 31. Havener, who was hired in August on a six-month contract, almost quit in November. He wasn’t present for the Dec. 26 meeting, but told SN&R in an email four days later that the board just referred him to his employment agreement.

“There is much I want to share about the known crimes (not my words, words of the authorities) the majority of Board has committed,” Havener wrote. “However, I’m sure my attorney would prefer I not say much more at this time.”

Burt and Schneider didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Reached on Dec. 27, board president Lenahan expressed surprise SN&R was doing another story about the district, said he was at work and quickly hung up.