After only seven months on the job, Susan Morrow has been terminated as the general manager of the Los Osos Community Services District.
The announcement was made Thursday after a closed-session meeting of the district’s board of directors. Morrow was an at-will employee of the district and no reason was publicly given for her termination, said Mike Seitz, district counsel.
She will receive a severance package of two months’ salary and her accrued vacation time. Her annual salary was $90,000.
She could not be reached for comment Friday. Director Marshall Ochylski said the district could not comment on the termination because it is a personnel matter.
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The board appointed Margaret Falkner, the district’s utilities manager, to fill in for Morrow. It also appointed a subcommittee of board President Leonard Moothart and Ochylski to find an interim general manager and begin the process of finding a permanent successor, Seitz said.
Although the reason for Morrow’s termination is confidential, Seitz said district general managers are usually terminated because of a lack of compatibility with the board of directors.
The district faces several unique challenges including a community divided over the district’s unsuccessful attempt to build a sewer and the resulting bankruptcy in 2006, a stipulated court agreement to manage the community’s dwindling groundwater resources, and coordinating with the county, which is in the midst of the disruptive process of installing a sewer system.
“With all that, they just have to find the right person,” Seitz said. “They have to find a general manager with a pretty unique skill set.”
The district has 11 full-time employees and provides water, drainage, solid waste and emergency services for residents of Los Osos/Baywood Park.
Before coming to Los Osos, Morrow had been a government manager with various communities including Simi Valley, Aliso Viejo, Torrance, Malibu and most recently Pacific Grove, where she was city clerk. She has also owned and operated her own geological consulting firm.