Some eleven months after the West Valley Water District hired political operative Jeremiah Brosowske into a do-nothing managerial assignment without a specific job description paying him one quarter of a million dollars per year, he has tendered his resignation and departed the district.
In accepting Brosowske’s resignation, the district conferred upon him a $154,884.80. severance package.
While most of the district’s officials abided by the standard governmental protocol of refraining from any sort of comment that might have been deemed critical of the district’s current or past personnel and therefore hailed Brosowske’s contributions during his tenure, Channing Hawkins, who was elected to the district board last fall on a reform platform and was elevated to the presidency of the board immediately after his installation in November, pulled no punches, stating that Brosowske’s tenure with the district consisted of the provision of “unqualified and incompetent management and services.”
Brosowske is an example among a lengthy succession of San Bernardino County personages who have over the last several decades successfully monetized their involvement in politics, either through indulging their own ambition for office and partaking the spoils – legitimate or illegitimate, legal or illegal – thereof, or facilitating the ambition of others. That legion includes Richard Rodriguez, Mike Valles, Robert Hammock, Robert Gouty, John Mannerino, Brad Mitzelfelt, Tad Honeycutt, Jim Brulte, Keith Olberg, Bill Postmus, Paula Nowicki, Matt Brown, Tim Johnson, Yekaterina Kolcheva, Adam Aleman, Jessie Flores, Mark Kirk, Ted Lehrer, Anthony Riley, Matt Knox, David Ellis, Chris Jones, Mark Denny, Brian Johsz, Ed Graham and Peter Allen, more rather than less of whom have entangled themselves in political scandals in which the degree to which those in power exploited their authority would come to be on display.
Homegrown in the San Bernardino County’s High Desert, Brosowske graduated from Granite Hills High School in Apple Valley and enrolled at Victor Valley College, at which point he appears to have caught the political bug. At Victor Valley College, he was elected to the Associated Student Body Council and Senate, serving in the post of parliamentarian and ultimately rising to the position of ASB vice president. He became thoroughly involved in campus politics at Victor Valley College, including serving as a member of the budget committee and facilities committee. In addition, he served as the student representative on the Victor Valley College Measure JJ Oversight Committee, which was chartered to monitor the expenditure of $297.5 million in general obligation bonds to upgrade, expand, and construct school facilities passed by more than 55 percent of Victor Valley’s voters in November 2008. It was perhaps at this point that Brosowske became fully conscious of the relationship between politics/governance and money, and how political involvement and reach can be converted into personal wealth.
From that point on, Brosowske became entwined in what has been a continual life in politics. Initially, at least, the brand of politics Brosowske embraced specifically was Republican politics, though he essentially avoided that wing of the Republican Party that was devoted to reducing or controlling the cost of government. Rather, he found himself attracted to Republican candidates such as Curt Hagman, ones who were willing to go along with the expansion of government that Democrats advocated, just as long as Republicans, their supporters and Republican causes had an equal opportunity to cash in. Brosowske worked on a number of election or reelection campaigns. In 2013, Hagman, who had served on the Chino Hills City Council as both a council member and mayor before garnering election to the California Assembly in 2008, was nearing the end of his allotted six years in the Assembly based on the term limit regulations in place at that time. With the support of then-Congressman Gary Miller, Hagman orchestrated a silent coup to move then-San Bernardino County Republican Party Chairman Robert Rego out of the county party’s top spot and assume it himself, gaining better positioning from which he could make a run for San Bernardino County Fourth District supervisor in 2014. Once he had acceded to the county party chairmanship, Hagman had repeated contact with the then-22-year-old Brosowske, who exhibited an uncommon enthusiasm and energetic intensity in his involvement on behalf of the party. Under Hagman’s tutelage, Brosowske was given one assignment after another, which he dutifully fulfilled, gaining Hagman’s confidence. Consequently, Hagman hired Brosowske at the age of 23 into the post of executive director of the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee.
Brosowske, who was referred to by San Bernardino County party loyalists as “a young man with a plan,” proved less successful at raising money for the party than some had hoped he would. Nevertheless, he was able to demonstrate his value to the party by pushing to staff party headquarters from 9-to-5 on weekdays and by bringing in party volunteers to man the office on weekends. He involved himself in eight campaigns for Republican candidates that election cycle. Hagman credited Brosowske with guiding all eight of those candidates to victory. Among those was Paul Russ, who in 2014 captured a position on the Hesperia City Council.
While he was in that executive director position in 2016, Brosowske made a political move on his own behalf, seeking election to the Republican Central Committee, upon which there are eight allotted slots representing the First Supervisorial District, eight allotted slots representing the county’s Second District, nine allotted slots representing the county’s Third District, five allotted slots representing the county’s Fourth District and three representing the county’s Fifth District. Brosowske was among eleven people who ran in the central committee election to represent the First Supervisorial District, including Hesperia councilmen Eric Schmidt and Paul Russ, Hesperia Unified School District Board Member Eric Swanson and his wife, Rebekah Swanson. Though Brosowske vigorously campaigned on behalf of them and himself, he had little in the way of name recognition among the electorate and he finished eleventh in the race. Unfazed by his temporary setback at the hands of Republican voters, Brosowske remained loyal to the party. Hagman, as San Bernardino County’s Fourth District Supervisor, offered Brosowske a position with his office as an analyst. Brosowske, who had managed Paul Russ’s successful 2014 campaign for Hesperia City Council, remained active in promoting Republican candidates in local races, including that of Rebekah Swanson for Hesperia City Council in the 2016 race.
Despite Brosowske’s inability to vault electorally into a position on the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee, there was a recognition among a core group in the local GOP that Brosowske possessed the charisma, attitude, perseverant dedication and temperament the party needed in its leadership and elected officeholders to offset the increasing gap favoring the Democrats over the Republicans in San Bernardino County in terms of voter registration numbers. Among the Republican Party’s current crop of officeholders including Hagman, a consensus had grown that Brosowske should be groomed for higher office, including supervisor, state legislature and Congress.
In 2016 Mountain States Consulting Group, a limited liability company which in 2013 had been set up and registered in Wyoming by former San Bernardino County Supervisor/Republican Central Committee Chairman Bill Postmus’s father for his son to use as a vehicle to launder political donations to politicians, emerged as a factor in San Bernardino County politics. Bill Postmus, who had soared to the pinnacle of political influence in the early 2000s until his political career had been derailed by scandal, was seeking to reestablish himself as a major political player, this time as a kingmaker behind the scene. Without fanfare, the company put the 25-year-old Brosowske to work by contracting with Brosowske’s company, Next Generation Holdings LLC, securing for him his ability to support himself, while leaving him at liberty to pursue his political interests. By vectoring money flowing into Mountain States Consulting from individuals or corporations with business before or project approvals pending with local government to Next Generation Holdings, that campaign cash could then be distributed to politicians or political candidates without those politicians having to report the true sources of those funds, leaving them free to vote in support of those donors’ projects or hiring their companies to provide services or goods to the governmental entity they led without having to answer embarrassing questions. Among the politicians Mountain States/Postmus/Next Generation/Brosowske established in this way was Rebekah Swanson.
In May 2018, Hesperia Mayor Russ Blewett died. Rather than hold an election to fill the resulting vacancy until what would have been the end of Blewett’s term in December 2018, the council, after elevating Councilman Bill Holland into the mayor’s position, invited residents of the city to apply for appointment to fill in the council gap.
Brosowske, along with eight others, applied for the council position. After considering those applications and interviewing Brosowske and seven of the other applicants who were able to attend a specially-scheduled meeting on the evening of July 11, 2018, the council voted 3-to-1, with Paul Russ, Bill Holland and Rebekah Swanson prevailing and councilman Larry Bird dissenting, to appoint Brosowske.
Less than four months later, the 27-year-old Brosowske ran for election in Hesperia’s newly-formed District Four in what was the first by-district election in the City of Hesperia’s then-30-year history, capturing that position on his own, helped, of course, by his status as an incumbent councilman.
With his first actual electoral victory under his belt, Brosowske was seen as finally progressing toward the elected political status Republicans in the inner sanctum felt he deserved and was destined to, such that he would be a candidate – depending on First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood’s then-presumed pending determination as to his political future – for either supervisor or assemblyman in 2020, assemblyman or congressman in 2022, congressman most certainly by 2024, and California governor in 2026.
Brosowske was at that point valued for what he could do in assisting other Republican candidates. In the spring of 2019, Republicans and Democrats alike were looking with anticipation toward 2020, when Democrat Josie Gonzales’s 16-year run as supervisor in the county’s Fifth District was set to end as the term limits put into place by the voters’ passage of Measure P in 2006 would necessitate that she vacate her position. Among those contemplated as potential Republicans to fill that void were West Valley Water Board Member Clifford Young and Fontana City Councilman Jesse Armendarez. Young had occupied the Fifth District supervisor’s position for roughly a year in an appointed capacity just prior to Gonzales succeeding him after he was chosen to replace former Supervisor Jerry Eaves, a Democrat, whose conviction on political corruption charges in 2003 required that he resign the post. Armendarez is a member of the Republican ruling coalition on the Fontana City Council led by Mayor Acquanetta Warren. Warren has, despite her GOP affiliation, managed to maintain her political primacy in overwhelmingly Democrat Fontana through aggressive electioneering efforts, including ones in which Brosowske had assisted. Brosowske had previously established a close friendship and strong working relationship with Almendarez, assisting him in 2016 when Armendarez, then a member of the Fontana School Board, had defeated incumbent Councilwoman Lydia Salazar-Wibert in a close race.
In March 2019, Phil Cothran, who is closely aligned with Warren, made a phone call to Clifford Young. Cothran advocated strongly on behalf of Brosowske, suggesting the water district hire him. Clifford Young, who had consistently been opposed to hiring Brosowske, was conscious that the push to hire Brosowske was coming less from Warren and more from Armendarez and Cothran. It was a delicate matter, as Armendarez recognized that if Brosowske could function from the comfort of a decent-paying job requiring little work, he would be free to devote the attention needed to an intensive campaign that was needed to get Armendarez elected to the Fifth District supervisor’s post. Since Young himself had designs on the Fifth District supervisor’s slot, Brosowske’s work for Armendarez was not explicitly dealt with during the conversation.
At that time, the formerly close political affiliation between Young and the other leading figure on the West Valley Water Board, Michael Taylor, had ended, and an intense rivalry between the two had developed. Taylor, a Republican, saw potential in having a political operative such as Brosowske on the West Valley staff. In May 2019, West Valley Water District General Manager Clarence Mansell, assured that Taylor and board members Kyle Crowther and Don Olinger supported the move, provided Brosowske with a contract to serve as the district’s assistant general manager at an annual salary of $189,592 along with benefits and add-ons valued at over $62,000 per year.
Brosowske had no experience, no training, held no certificates or licenses, and possessed no expertise in water operations or public agency administration or management.
Word spread immediately that Brosowke’s hiring into the post represented a tangible payoff in exchange for a vote or votes Brosowske had made or was expected to make in his position and capacity as a council member in Hesperia, or in exchange for politically-based services he was to render in the future. In the face of the firestorm of controversy engendered by Brosowske’s hiring, those responsible for the action, including Mansell, then-Assistant General Manager Ricardo Pacheco, then-Human Resources Director/Risk Manager Deborah Martinez, Taylor, who was then the board president, board members Clifford Young, Don Olinger, Kyle Crowther and Greg Young (no blood relation to Clifford Young) hunkered into a crouch and refused to field public or press inquiries relating to the hiring.
Of issue in the controversy was that the position Brosowske was given was a political sinecure, an essentially do-nothing job. His assignment as assistant general manager was vague under the terms of his employment agreement and, with the leave of Mansel, he was free to come and go as he chose. Though the employment agreement referenced “certain services,” nowhere in the contract were those services or his duties specified or explained.
“[The] district desires to engage the services of Mr. Brosowske as an assistant general manager of the district,” the agreement stated. “Mr. Brosowske represents and warrants that he has the skill and ability to serve as assistant general manager and wishes to accept such employment. Mr. Brosowske shall render certain services to [the] district as assistant general manager. Mr. Brosowske shall be an assistant general manager of the district and shall report to the general manager and perform such duties and services as shall be necessary and advisable to manage and conduct the business of the district, subject at all times to all applicable law(s) and board decisions, as well as the consent, approval and direction of the board. Mr. Brosowske will devote his full time and attention to the performance of his duties and to district business affairs. Mr. Brosowske shall report to the general manager and district’s offices for work under one of the district’s approved work schedules and at such other times as may be necessary to discharge his duties, except when away on district business, or as otherwise excused such as vacations and holidays. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Mr. Brosowske agrees that he will report to work when necessary to district’s operations, regardless of regularly scheduled hours to the extent such attendance is reasonably possible. Mr. Brosowske may devote a reasonable amount of time to professional water district and community related activities, so long as the time devoted to these other activities does not interfere with the performance of his duties to the district. Participation at those professional and other organizational activities will be subject to review and approval by the general manager. This agreement shall in no way be interpreted as prohibiting Mr. Brosowske from making passive personal investments and/or attending to such other personal business affairs, provided that such personal investments and/or private business affairs in no way interferes and/or conflicts with his duties and responsibilities as assistant general manager and/or the needs and best interests of the district.”
The agreement specified a six-month probationary period for Brosowske, who was designated an “at-will” employee. Under the agreement, if he were to be terminated with cause cited, he was to be provided no severance stipend. If terminated without cause cited, he was entitled to a severance stipend equal to three to six months salary. The agreement called for the district supplying Brosowske with a cell phone, laptop computer, iPad, either a district vehicle or $600 per month vehicle allowance, holiday and vacation pay, sick leave, life insurance, medical coverage, dental coverage, vision coverage, travel expenses, and educational and/or tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 annually.
Meanwhile, in Hesperia, a move to recall Bill Holland, who had been instrumental in Brosowske’s original appointment to the city council which had led to Brosowske being properly positioned to gain election to the council in his own right in 2018, developed, sponsored by individuals who had bankrolled Postmus, Mountain States Consulting, Next Generation Holdings and Brosowske during the effort to reestablish Postmus as a viable political force and to actuate Brosowske as an officeholder. When Brosowske declined to stand up to defend Holland against the recall, that put him in Dutch with a majority of the city council, which no longer counted Russ among its members after his defeat in the 2018 election. Moreover, revelations that a substantial amount of the money that had passed into the hands of Postmus/Mountain States/Brosowske/Next Generation and then into various political campaigns had originated with entities seeking to establish cannabis-related business operations in Hesperia and elsewhere resonated poorly with a large segment of the Hesperia population, which looked down upon the liberalization of regulations relating to marijuana in California, and were still hoping to stem the pro-cannabis tide and keep such businesses from being established in their city. They wanted to keep the drug, which previous to 2016 was legally available in California only for medical use but which can now be with the assent of local authorities sold locally for its intoxicative effect or recreational use, from flooding their streets. In Hesperia, one of the six of San Bernardino County municipalities where Republicans yet outnumbered Democrats, that was not a popular, or relatively popular, stance. Brosowske then committed what is best described as an inexplicably contrarian faux-pas: After having established himself as a Republican whose political future was closely identified with the GOP, he announced when he was questioned about the marijuana issue that he was not actually a Republican, but a libertarian who believed marijuana should be accepted as a staple of, if not American, then California, life. Like Jesus Christ, who had been triumphantly welcomed into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday only to be scourged and crucified the following Friday, Jeremiah Brosowske had been accoladed with the Hesperia City Council’s acceptance of him among their ranks by appointment in 2018 followed by the honorific of being elected to the council by the residents of the city’s Second District later that year, only to be removed from office by the city council in 2019. On September 3, 2019, the city council, acting on reports that Brosowske was not regularly living in his apartment at 16784 Sultana Street in Hesperia, sleeping there only on the evenings of the first and third Tuesdays of each month and otherwise cohabiting at all other times with his girlfriend in Rancho Cucamonga, voted 3-to-2 to remove him as the city’s District Four councilmember. The only votes against doing so were Brosowske’s own and that of Rebekah Swanson.
Brosowske went down swinging on September 3, having hired Chad Morgan, one of California’s leading attorneys with regard to the quo warranto process relating to the removal of elected officials from office, to represent him. Thereafter, he essentially peaceably accepted what the city council had done to him, acquiescing in not attending the meetings and resigning himself to the council appointing the woman he had defeated in the November 2018 election, Brigit Bennington, to replace him. He yet awaits the quo warranto application that could potentially restore him to the council to play out at with the California Attorney General’s office.
Brosowske’s once grandiose political future had hit a snag. Nevertheless, in Rialto, he carried on as best he could. To pay the debt he owed for having been given a quarter-of-a-million-dollar-per-year-all-told position he was not truly qualified to hold, he found himself engaged in September and then October in an effort to assist Michael Taylor, who was locked in a bitter power struggle with Clifford Young for the control of the district. The district holds its elections in November of odd-numbered years. Though the district, which includes a significant portion of Rialto, a swathe of Fontana, all of Bloomington, a small slice of Colton and a strip of unincorporated northern Riverside County, is saturated with Democratic voters, four of its five board members before the election were Republicans. Now, after the election, the Republicans yet hold that 4-to-1 advantage. Three positions on the board were up for election in November. One of those was held by Kyle Crowther of Fontana, a Republican who was aligned with Taylor. Another position being contested was that held by Don Olinger, the board’s only Democrat, who had previously been isolated on the board against his four Republican colleagues, but who had aligned himself with Taylor and Crowther when the split among the Republicans had manifested in 2018. The other district post up for grabs in November 2019 was that one held by Greg Young, a Republican first elected to the board in 2015, who had remained affiliated with Clifford Young. Taylor’s objective in the November 2019 election was to see to it that Crowther and Olinger remained in place and that Greg Young was voted out of office. Brosowske was naturally in Crowther’s camp based upon Crowther’s affinity for Brosowske’s friend Almendarez. Brosowske was thus primed to assist Taylor in at the very least maintaining his tenuous 3-to-2 hold on the board or, better, ousting Greg Young and replacing him with the candidate Taylor had succeeded in finding to challenge Greg Young, Angel Ramirez. Ramirez ran campaigns and election activities for both Armendarez and Cothran in Fontana. He had also been Phil Cothran’s alternate on the Republican Central Committee. Together with Naseem Farooqi, the West Valley Water District’s public affairs manager, Brosowske worked with Ramirez on his campaign against Greg Young.
Brosowske, who had burned his bridges with one faction of Hesperia’s Republicans by lending moral support to the effort to recall Holland and by his remarks indicating he was unopposed to the marijuanification of Hesperia, yet had entrée with influential members of the Republican Central Committee. In what was for some a startling turn of events, Brosowske and others militating on behalf of Ramirez managed to have the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee, of which Greg Young had been a longstanding member energetically supporting Republican candidates and causes, forsake Greg Young and instead endorse Ramirez. In what was intended to be the coup de grâce, Taylor put up $19,128.04 to help Ramirez, using money from his own campaign fund that went either directly to Ramirez’s campaign or which was spent to pay for pro-Ramirez materials provided by a third party or independent expenditure committee.
Simultaneously, Taylor was pulling out all of the stops to keep the Democrat Olinger on the board.
Taylor secured Crowther’s assistance in pursuing that objective. Crowther transfered $3,000 from his electioneering fund into Taylor’s political war chest, and $2,500 to the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association. Taylor then used his campaign treasury to provide Olinger with $22,620.48 worth of contributions, in-kind support or other financing in his campaign, including purchasing electioneering materials in the form of ads or mailers for Olinger.
While Taylor and Crowther were crossing the partisan line in supporting the Democrat Olinger, theirs was a venial rather than a mortal sin, since Olinger’s opponent, Channing Hawkins, was also a Democrat.
During the campaign, evidence surfaced, consisting of some form of electronic media, showing that Brosowske was engaged in work on the premises of the West Valley Water District Headquarters at 855 West Baseline Road in Rialto on behalf of one of the district’s board candidates. Within days, there were follow-up reports that Brosowske was actively working on behalf of Olinger against Hawkins as well as for Angel Ramirez against Greg Young. In the wake of the accusation that he was engaged in partisan electioneering activity during work hours performed at the district’s premises, there were calls for Brosowske’s suspension. With the outcome of the election yet in doubt, no move to suspend or sack Brosowske ensued.
Despite the best efforts by Taylor, Crowther and Brosowske, ultimately Hawkins prevailed in the race, defeating Olinger convincingly with 623 votes or 64.83 percent in the district’s Division 4 race to Olinger’s 338 votes or 35.17 percent cast on November 5. Equally disappointing to the trio was that Greg Young was able to hold off Ramirez and another candidate in the race, Jackie Cox. Greg Young garnered 340 votes or 52.63 percent to Ramirez’s 230 votes or 35.6 percent and Cox’s 76 votes or 11.76 percent. Crowther, with 282 votes or 53.41 percent, hung onto his board position, defeating Betty Gosney and Linda Martinez with 32 or 6.06 percent and 211 votes or 39.96 percent, respectively.
After the November electoral victories by Hawkins and Young, there was widespread anticipation that Brosowske’s firing would follow. Nevertheless, Brosowske’s six month anniversary with the district elapsed in November, some two weeks after the election, and with it Brosowske’s probationary period.
In December, on the same day that Hawkins was sworn in as a board member, he was elevated, in a somewhat uncommon move, to the position of board president. Normally, the honorific of being selected by one’s colleagues to head a governing board as chairman or president or appointed mayor is not conferred upon an elected official until he or she gains some degree of experience in office.
In December, Hawkins, who had run on a reformist platform, quietly and without involving the other board members, directed West Valley Water District General Manager Clarence Mansell to retain the public relations firm of ChamberlaynePR, owned by Charles Chamberlayne, to undertake certain communications services for the district. The initial installment of that contract, as awarded by Mansell using his authority to enter into contracts or make expenditures of $25,000 or less without board approval, committed to paying ChamberlaynePR $23,000 before the board revisits the matter to determine if the contract should be extended.
While an assignment Chamberlayne was tasked with was coordinating the district’s communication with regard to its response to the coronavirus crisis, it was revealed last month that Charles Chamberlayne was making an assessment of the district’s communication function, what was referred to as “external affairs.” Of note was the concern that there was some degree of overlap and redundancy in terms of the district’s communications functions. Mansell is authorized to make official statements on behalf of the district. The district some months back gravitated to modifying Brosowske’s title to that of Assistant General Manager for External Affairs, which included the assignments of interacting with other governmental entities and supervising the district’s communication and public information and publicity divisions. The district also employs a public affairs manager, Naseem Farooqi, as well as a crew of customer service representatives.
During the district board’s closed session at its April 16 meeting, Charles Chamberlayne and his firm provided the assessment report for external affairs. While the report is not public, and the board voted to postpone the public presentation of the findings from that evening until the next board meeting to give themselves time to review the report, the Sentinel has learned that Chamberlayne was scathing in his assessment of the district’s overall communication performance, laying responsibility for those shortcomings at the feet of both Mansell and Brosowske.
Brosowske, after having either been provided with a copy of the report or being given a description of its contents and conclusion or in any case sensing the nature of the findings, offered a separation agreement at the Thursday evening April 16 meeting effective Friday April 17, agreeing to part ways with the district. It was reported out from the board’s closed session that the board voted 4-to-0, with Greg Young abstaining, to accept his offer.
Greg Young, while saying he welcomed Brosowske’s departure, told the Sentinel, “I abstained because I felt the offer was too high given the report we had just received, which was devastating in its assessment of Mr. Brosowske’s leadership.”
Simultaneous with, or shortly after Brosowske’s departure, Human Resources and Risk Manager Deborah Martinez and Board Secretary Crystal Escalera also entered into separation agreements with the district.
Farooqi, in his capacity as the district’s public affairs manager, said, “Under a cooperative effort led by the board of directors, the WVWD [West Valley Water District] is working to improve accountability and services for ratepayers, which involves an unprecedented and collaborative process to reorganize staff from management to entry-level positions and reassess roles and responsibilities. Over the past few days, WVWD made significant operations and staff changes, which includes separation agreements that allow the organization to reorganize and hire highly-qualified and experienced staff. Under contract obligations instituted by previous administrations years ago, the WVWD is contractually obligated to pay six-months severance to all executive employees. With this and the novel COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the board provided some additional terms to these agreements.”
Hawkins said, “There is still much more work to be done, but the days of unqualified and incompetent management and services are over. I’m proud to work alongside our water district’s board members to reevaluate, reorganize and hire highly-experienced and qualified professionals to do the job right. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to work together to improve accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility for West Valley ratepayers.”
Crowther said, “I sincerely thank them for their hard work and dedication to serving our ratepayers. As we begin to evaluate which positions are critically needed, we will continue the new directives we have implemented, including providing the human resources department the authority to complete the hiring process. We have full confidence in their ability to ensure we have highly-qualified employees to improve services for our ratepayers.”
Clifford Young said, “It’s time that we begin moving the water district in a new direction. It’s what our water district needs and what our ratepayers deserve. We need to be fiscally responsible, which is why I will only support filling critically-needed positions with qualified and experienced professionals.”
According to Farooqi, in the case of Brosowske, “The district was contractually obligated to pay six months’ severance of base salary only and payout of all unused vacation and leave. The district paid those amounts. In recognition of the emergency we are in and the fact that this employee would be without employment during this crisis, among other reasons, the district agreed to three additional months of severance for Mr. Brosowske and agreed to reimburse him $5,000 to repay educational loans he incurred while at the water district taking water-related courses. The total amount for the three months of severance and tuition reimbursement is $54,961.60.”
Thus, Brosowske is to receive, or has already received, a full severance package of $154,884.80.
In the case of Martinez, according to Farooqi, “The District was contractually obligated to pay six months’ severance of base salary only and payout of all unused vacation and leave.” Owing to the coronavirus threat, Farooqi said, “the district agreed to three additional months of severance for Mrs. Martinez and to pay the equivalent of nine months of continuing health care coverage for her so that she is not without health insurance during this public health emergency. The total amount for the three months of severance and health coverage is $52,720.38. The water district also agreed to provide a letter of recommendation to Ms. Martinez.”
Similarly, with regard to Escalera, Farooqi said, the district is providing her with sixth months of continuing health coverage and a payout of six months of her salary, which he did not specify. He also said the district is reimbursing her $7,000 for tuition “for courses she took while at the water district.”
According to Farooqi, Chamberlayne recommended the board consider, “a strategic communications plan” which “will include month-by-month information detailing customer service related communications, announcements, newsletters, social media posts, events, community outreach, etc.” and “detailed budget information, resources, and defined roles.”
In his suggestions for restructuring the external affairs department, Chamberlayne alluded to Brosowske, noting “WVWD was the only water district in a comprehensive survey of water districts to have an assistant general manager responsible for meter reading, customer service, public affairs, and conservation. Previously, the assistant general manager was a bottleneck in project progress.” Chamberlayne said consolidating Brosowske’s former function into that of a “general and human resources manager will create and implement an organizational structure for a communications-related department in which there is no ambiguity regarding direct reports.”
The departure of Brosowske from the West Valley Water District has now focused attention on the staffing choices made by San Bernardino County Third District Supervisor Don Rowe, who is employing three known political operatives – Matt Knox in the position of her chief of staff; Dillon Lesovsky as her policy advisor; and Suzette Swallow as her communications director.
There is concern that Knox, Lesovsky and Swallow will be detailed by Rowe to work, while being paid as public employees, on Jay Obernolte’s campaign for Congress and Thurston Smith’s campaign for Assembly in the upcoming November election.
Some eleven months after the West Valley Water District hired political operative Jeremiah Brosowske into a do-nothing managerial assignment without a specific job description paying him one quarter of a million dollars per year, he has tendered his resignation and departed the district.