Prolonged review of Windsor town manager led up to his resignation, councilman says

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.


A performance review that began in August and stretched over several months preceded the resignation of Windsor’s town manager, John Jansons, who left abruptly last week amid ongoing questions about his and others’ leadership, according to Sam Salmon, Windsor’s longest tenured council member.

Jansons, who had served just 13 months in his post, and members of the Town Council agreed to a mutual parting of ways after his review became a regular fixture of the council’s closed-door meetings over the past four months, according to Salmon.

That review began as a standard evaluation for the town’s top executive six months after he started in his job last October. It turned into a drawn-out, eight-session process that aired the council’s concerns with his leadership and led to his sudden departure, Salmon said.

“When you have a review, even though you’re looking at the manager, you’re looking at the state of the town,” Salmon said in an interview late Friday. “Because the review went on, I think we were looking and had more questions. There was nothing that was done that was wrong, and it was kind of a meeting of the minds and we felt like it was just a good time to move on.”

Jansons’ last day on the job was Thursday, a day after the city announced his resignation in a three-sentence statement sent just hours before a Town Council meeting.

The resignation came just weeks after the Nov. 19 departure of Camille Kazarian, who as the town’s assistant manager and administrative services director functioned as Windsor’s second-in-command.

Kazarian, 39, has been hired as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Summit State Bank in Santa Rosa, taking with her five years of experience overseeing the city’s finances and annual budget.

Jansons, 54, had previously served two years as city manager of Farmersville, in Tulare County. Before that, for five years, he was economic development director in the city of Hemet in Riverside County.

Windsor paid Jansons an annual salary of $190,000, according to his publicly posted employment contract. His agreement to resign came with a six-month severance package, Salmon said.

Jansons, reached by phone Friday, said he could not answer questions about his departure, citing unspecified legal constraints.

Other city officials offered little explanation for the departures, including any clarification about whether the two resignations were related.

Robin Donoghue, the Windsor town attorney, would not say if any formal complaints had been filed with the city dealing with Jansons’ or Kazarian’s tenure with the town. She declined to answer questions on the departures, saying town personnel matters remain confidential.

Kazarian had served as interim town manager for five months during the candidate search that eventually led to the hiring of Jansons. She hung up when reached by phone for comment on Friday.

Windsor last month launched a separate, more sweeping review of town operations after a representative of some of the town’s 106 employees sent a letter to council complaining of low morale at Town Hall. The letter questioned Windsor’s overall direction, according to Salmon, a retired attorney who was re-elected last month to his seventh term on the council.

Council members subsequently authorized a broad inquiry overseen by Donoghue, Salmon said.

“I received notice that there was dissatisfaction with where the town was headed, and that was what we wanted to investigate,” Salmon said. “It was initiated in November and terminated pretty quickly, because people resigned.”

He did not elaborate on the reported discontent at Town Hall or say what if anything Donoghue found in her review. She was not available to answer that question on Saturday.

The departure of Windsor’s top two administrators now presents new concerns, particularly given the usual months-long process often needed to fill such vacancies.

Windsor faces several significant political and legal issues, the most immediate of which is the threat of a lawsuit from a Southern California attorney who wants Windsor to change to a district-based election system rather than its at-large contest for filling council seats.

The city also is grappling with its stance on several large-scale housing developments, including a tribal project by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians on the edge of town.

The planned extension of the SMART commuter line to Windsor is likely to demand major attention over the next three years as well.

Council members insisted the administrative turnover would not hamper the town’s governance.

“I think if there is an upside to all of this, it’s that we have a very good executive leadership in our departments,” said Councilman Bruce Okrepkie, who was mayor during most of Jansons’ tenure. “And I have a lot of confidence in that.”

At its meeting Wednesday, the council named Ken MacNab, Windsor’s community development director, as interim town manager — a temporary solution, according to town officials.

“We are taking a measured, long approach to replace our town manager,” said Mayor Dominic Foppoli, who was re-elected last month to his second term on the council. “We have such an amazing option for the interim town manager right now that we are taking our time to let Ken really fulfill his duties as interim and give him an opportunity to pursue development projects like the civic center.”

James Leon, the town’s human resources director, also said the search for a new administrative services director would begin this week.

Salmon said some responsibility for the shakeup in management lies with the council, which has been divided at times and which may not have provided clear direction to the town’s top administrators.

“There are strong managers and there are weak managers, but that has a lot to do with the council,” said Salmon. “A performance review of the town manager is just as much a review of the council. How well the manager is doing is really a reflection of how well the council is doing, in my estimation. I’m a firm believer in that.”

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or On Twitter @kfixler. Staff Writer Alexandria Bordas is available at 707-521-5337 or On Twitter@CrossingBordas.

Show Comment

Our Network

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