Windsor’s top two town administrators have abruptly resigned from their jobs, scrambling the day-to-day leadership of Sonoma County’s fourth largest city at a time of pressing political and legal concerns.
Town Manager John Jansons’ last day was Thursday, a day after his resignation was announced in a three-sentence statement from the city’s human resources director.
Camille Kazarian, the assistant town manager and administrative services director, stepped down Nov. 19, but there was no formal announcement of her departure.
James Leon, Windsor’s human resources director, confirmed the departures Thursday. Leon declined to provide additional details, including an explanation of what led to the resignations or if they were related.
“Personnel matters require the utmost confidentiality,” he said.
Jansons, 54, had been in his post for only 13 months. He was previously the city manager of Farmersville, east of Visalia in Tulare County. He could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
“We want to thank John for his service to the Town and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” outgoing Mayor Bruce Okrepkie said in the statement sent out by Leon on Wednesday afternoon. It came just hours before the start of a special council meeting on a legal threat targeting the town’s election system.
At the meeting, the council gathered behind closed doors to name Ken MacNab, the town’s community development director, as the interim town manager.
Kazarian’s post has been vacant since her resignation. In addition to serving as an assistant manager under Jansons, she oversaw the town’s utility and waste water division, accounting and finance management, IT contractors and risk management, according to Leon.
Jeneen Peterson, Windsor’s accounting and audit manager, is overseeing some of those responsibilities, but no one is covering the position full time.
“Our plan is to split the roles, making Kazarian’s job into two moving forward,” Leon said. The town calls for staff members to give at least two weeks’ notice before leaving, and Leon assumed both followed proper protocol, though he was uncertain.
The shakeup comes as Windsor confronts an immediate threat of a potential lawsuit from a Malibu attorney who wants the town of 27,000 to switch from the at-large election system it uses to fill council seats to district-based elections. Also, Windsor is wrestling with its approach to one of the single-largest residential developments in the county, a tribal housing project being pursued on its outskirts by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians.
Councilwoman Deb Fudge, a former mayor and Windsor’s second-longest serving incumbent, said “We have full faith that the town will move smoothly forward with all the issues that we’re dealing with as a town. The town is fine and is in good shape.”
Leon said Windsor would start a search for a new administrative services director on Monday.
Council members were uniformly tight lipped about the departures.
Dominic Foppoli, who was re-elected to his second term last month and named mayor on Wednesday, declined to say what fueled the resignations. He said he had heard but could not confirm that Jansons had possibly decided to pursue other opportunities.