For at least the last couple of decades, the McKinleyville Community Services District has gone outside the county in search of new managers.
But that may change. There appears to be strong support for hiring Interim General Manager Greg Orsini as the permanent manager for the district.
The MCSD board discussed the hiring of a permanent manager at its meeting Wednesday, March 6. The meeting began with a closed session meeting, during which the board was supposed to discuss Orsini’s job performance, at least according to the agenda.
When the board reconvened into open session, several MCSD employees were in attendance to lobby the board to hire Orsini.
Sharon Denison, who retired last year after working nearly three decades for the district, urged the board to hire Orsini. Denison noted that she worked with Greg for 22 years.
“He knows more about the workings of the district than anyone,” Denison said.
Other employees gave similar testimony, with one saying that “employee morale is at an all-time high” under Orsini’s leadership.
Former MCSD Director Jeff Dunk also urged the board to hire Orsini.
“I want Greg to be the next manager,” Dunk said.
“To my knowledge, I don’t think the district has ever hired a general manager from within,” Dunk said.
Board members also praised Orsini.
Director Helen Edwards said that Orsini was an excellent candidate for the position, but she wanted a slate of applicants to choose from.
Director John Corbett agreed. “I do think it would pay to have a wide spectrum of candidates,” Corbett said.
“I think that would be a more solid way to proceed,” said Corbett, who also said that Orsini is doing a great job.
Director David Couch said that “succession hiring” is not the way to go. The district, he said, “wouldn’t be doing due diligence.”
But Director Bill Wennerholm disagreed.
“Greg has stepped up twice now,” Wennerholm said. “He does the job and he does it well.”
The community likes Orsini, the employees like Orsini, and he’s doing a good job, Wennerholm said.
At one point, Wennerholm made a motion to hire Orsini, but it died for lack of a second.
President Dennis Mayo had said that “Greg is the right man for the job,” but as president Mayo is not allowed to second a motion per board rules.
The board ultimately decided to hire a head hunter to find applicants for the job. That process could cost $30,000 or more. The board said it wanted to “fast-track” the process, which could result in a decision in two months or less.