Windsor hit by departures of town manager and assistant manager

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


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.

Newly elected Councilwoman Esther Lemus declined to comment. Councilman Sam Salmon did not respond to interview requests.

Jansons’ salary was not immediately available Thursday. Before he started as town manager in October 2017, Windsor officials said Jansons was set to receive a similar salary to his predecessor, Linda Kelly, who made $210,275 in 2016, her last full year.

The Town Council had been conducting a personnel review of Jansons in the weeks that preceded his departure, according to the posted agendas. Leon said he could not comment on that review but said it was a routine part of the job as town manager.

Still, even close council observers who knew that review was underway said they were surprised by the abrupt nature of the departures. They did not know Kazarian had left.

“I wasn’t surprised about Jansons. I didn’t think he was a good fit for the town,” said Windsor resident Betsy Mallace. “He didn’t seem to work into the job.”

But Farmersville Mayor Paul Boyer said he had nothing but positive memories from working with Jansons, who served two years at the helm of the town.

“He worked hard and did a lot of good for our city,” Boyer said. “I am really surprised to hear this news; he was excited to move to Windsor.”

Kazarian, 39, a Sonoma State University graduate, had worked for Windsor since 2013. Her pay in 2016 — the latest figure available — was $144,746, according to Transparent California.

She was previously the finance manager before taking on the second job of assistant town manager. Her title was later amended to include administrative services director, according to her LinkedIn page.

Foppoli, the incoming mayor, said the outlook from Town Hall remained optimistic in the wake of the resignations.

“We have amazing leadership and each of our departments are doing a great job,” Foppoli said. “We have a strong core of council experience and I now have a robust opportunity as mayor to be a more active player in my town.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the interim town manager’s name.

Staff Writer Kevin Fixler contributed reporting.

Please read our commenting policy
  • No profanity, abuse, racism or hate speech
  • No personal attacks on other commenters
  • No spam or off-topic posts
  • Comments including URLs and media may be held for moderation
Send a letter to the editor
*** The system is currently unable to accept new posts (we're working on it) ***

Our Network

Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine