Olds, Who Left WVWD To Avoid Tarring Just As The Scandal Over Brosowske Was Breaking, Is Now Back, In Place To See Mansell Sacked

It appears that the embattled West Valley Water District’s board is on the verge of releasing besieged General Manager Clarence Mansell.
That move was signaled earlier this month by the district’s rehiring of Logan Olds as the district’s assistant general manager, seventeen months after he was hired onto the senior staff at the West Valley Water District and then abruptly departed less than three months later as scandal began to encircle the organization he had just joined.
Mansell’s departure could be imminent, the Sentinel was told, but might take as long as six months to implement, which would be time enough for Olds to completely familiarize himself with the district and its operations.
Olds’ first tour with the district was entangled with the scandal that ensued upon the dual hiring of him and Jeremiah Brosowske in May 2019, which became effective the following month. The hiring of both was a package deal in which political considerations outweighed the district’s purely operational priorities. Brosowske, a political operative with no experience in the provision of water utility service, was hired to provide him with a sinecure, a position with a substantial income from which he would be able to engage in all order of assistance and support to the campaigns of selected members of the water board and their political allies, including engaging in skulduggery against those candidates’ political opponents.
Olds was provided with a $210,000 salary upon coming to West Valley, along with a benefit package of $61,000, which brought his total annual compensation to more than $270,000. His title was that of assistant general manager. Simultaneously, Brosowske had been hired and provided with the title of assistant general manager, the same position as Olds but at three experience steps below Olds, which merited him an annual salary of $189,592 augmented by $62,500 in benefits, putting his full annual compensation at more than $252,000. Brosowske had no experience, no training, held no certificates or licenses, and possessed no expertise in water operations.
A central condition tenet of the hirings was that Olds was to serve as Brosowske’s mentor. The arrangement soured relatively early on when Olds learned that Brosowske had virtually no knowledge or understanding of even basic hydrology. Moreover, he was disturbed that Brosowske was continuously engaged in political activity that had nothing whatsoever to do with the provision of water to the district’s customers. Olds’ efforts to engage with Mansell and have him act to either terminate Brosowske or move him into a lesser or different assignment were met with immediate resistance, followed by Olds being informed that Mansell was equally, or perhaps even more, dismayed at the district being saddled with Brosowske, but that he had been ordered by three members of the board – Dr. Michael Taylor, Kyle Crowther and Don Olinger – to employ Brosowske.
On August 27, 2019, Olds notified the district of his intention to step down from his position, effective August 30, 2019. Olds left, according to an individual familiar with district operations, because of dismay at having to deal with the ongoing personnel issue involving Brosowske, and not being able to bring to bear the solution he felt would best serve the situation, which was to terminate Brosowske.
The elections for the West Valley Water District’s board members are held in odd-numbered years. Last fall, Brosowske was actively involved in the campaign efforts on behalf of Olinger, who was seeking reelection that year, and against Olinger’s opponent, Channing Hawkins, as well as on behalf of Crowther, who was likewise seeking reelection in the face of challenges by Betty Gosney and Linda Gonzalez, and most particularly the campaign of Angel Ramirez, who was seeking to dislodge incumbent board member Greg Young.
While Crowther did garner reelection, despite Brosowske’s efforts Young was reelected and Hawkins bested Olinger.
During the campaign, Hawkins, who was made aware of how Brosowske was being deployed to politic on behalf of three district board candidates, indicated that if he were elected over Olinger, Brosowske would become a “dead man walking.”
Despite the consideration that from the time he was sworn into office sufficient votes to order Mansell to cashier Brosowske existed – those of Hawkins, Greg Young and Clifford Young [no blood relation to Greg Young] – no action to terminate Brosowske was taken for four months. In April 2020, in a face-saving arrangement for Brosowske, he tendered his resignation and the district in accepting it conferred upon him a $154,884.80. severance package.
On December 12 of last year, less than a week after Hawkins had replaced Olinger on the board, a letter from all but two of the district’s eighteen department managers was delivered to Hawkins, who had been elevated to board president the night he was sworn in, and the remainder of the board, pressing them to relieve Mansell of his position as general manager. Complaining of low morale within the district staff, the letter stated, “General Manager Mansell has alienated employees by removing responsibilities from specific individuals to those who will do his bidding.” The letter spoke of “extreme concerns with regards to the executive management and overall unsatisfactory performance of General Manager Clarence Mansell, Jr.” and a continuing “lack of transparency, communication, honesty, professionalism and respect for employees of West Valley Water District” that had led them “to the firm conclusion that the only way to save our water district is to change the leadership of the West Valley Water District.” The letter alleged that Mansell had engaged in favoritism in the hiring process for the district, saddling it with employees who did not perform adequately and that Mansell recruited and hired employees without adequate screening or consultation with department managers, bypassing interviewing candidates. Sixteen signatures were affixed to the bottom of the two-and-a-half page missive, which bore the water district’s letterhead, which included Mansell’s name and title, along with those of several other district officials, including the board members to whom the letter was sent. Those signing the letter were Public Affairs Manager Naseem Faroqi, General Services Manager Jon Stephenson, Acting Human Resources Manager Paul Becker, Operations Manager Joanne Chan, Engineering Services Manager Linda Jadeski, Business Systems Manager Albert Clinger, Accounting Manager Jose Velasquez, Geographic Information Systems Manager Telat Yalcin, Purchasing Supervisor Al Robles, Production Supervisor Joe Schaak, Water Quality Supervisor Anthony Budicin, Customer Service Supervisor Alberto Yulo, Chief Treatment Plant Operator Ernie Montelongo and Chief Treatment Plant Operator Sergio Granda.
Because the district’s assistant general manager was Brosowske, who lacked the ability or knowledge to run the district, the board has not been in a position to do without Mansell.
Mansell is a knowledgeable water operations manager, with 40 years experience, including work with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, the cities of Los Angeles, Corona, and Rialto and in his role as the chief consultant with Clarence C Mansell Jr and Associates, which specializes in water operations troubleshooting.
Olds, however, has been brought back into the West Valley fold, knelling Mansell’s coming departure. Olds’ level of experience and expertise is that he could step into Mansell’s general manager assignment upon being fully acclimated to the 31-square mile district, which provides water service to approximately 80,000 people residing within a slice of San Bernardino County and a small extension into a northlying area of Riverside County, overlaying portions of the communities of Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Jurupa Valley.
Olds had been the general manager of the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority from 2006 until 2019, when he made his sudden departure from that post to take the assistant general manager’s position with West Valley the first time. There had been no indication from the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority of any dissatisfaction with Olds’ performance. During his tenure with Victor Valley, the authority had expanded its main plant in Victorville and built smaller satellite facilities in Hesperia and Apple Valley. He had also overseen an unanticipated major repair job that was necessitated a decade ago when a rainstorm in 2010 caused flooding and the inundation of a large pipeline in the Mojave River near the main plant and the loss of a portion of its 35-year-old interceptor. Olds led the effort to rebuild the pipeline by placing it in a tunnel under the river, providing a more secure environment for it to remain intact. Olds did have some difficulty with a few of the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority’s 37 personnel during his run as general manager there. He withstood, however, accusations made by some of those employees that there was mismanagement in the district, after which the authority ultimately passed a state audit and received recognition by the state and some water operations organizations for openness in the authority’s financial reporting.
According to a statement put out by West Valley Water District spokesman Naseem Farooqi, “To further strengthen and support the workforce at the West Valley Water District, the board of directors approved a number of agreements that will appoint a new assistant general manager, elevate the chief financial officer and ratify a memorandum of understanding with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12, which is a trade union that primarily represents operating engineers who work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction, industrial and service industries.”
According to Farooqi, “The sweeping changes implemented by the West Valley Water Board of Directors will impact more than 70 percent of the agency’s personnel. The most prominent change involves the return of an assistant general manager, Logan Olds, who maintains extensive industry experience. Olds recently served as general manager of the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority in Victorville, which serves a 279-square mile area and treats about 10.7 million gallons of wastewater every day. Olds worked at the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority for 13 years where he turned around a facility facing more than 100 water quality violations. According to the California Water Environmental Association, under his leadership, the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority resolved those early water quality problems, improved and expanded infrastructure, navigated several disasters, supervised the construction of recycling facilities and initiated an award-winning green energy program.”
Olds stated, “I see the tremendous progress made and I’m glad to be back. I’m looking forward to immediately assisting our board of directors, management and staff in strengthening our infrastructure and operations in a transparent manner. Our ratepayers are relying on us and we will continue making immediate improvements to ensure we provide them with the water district they deserve.”
Under his new appointed position with the West Valley Water District, Olds will oversee the operations and engineering divisions of the water district, which includes the Oliver P. Roemer Water Filtration Facility expansion project.
Olds has earned a bachelor of science degree in applied ecology and a master of science degree in water/wastewater utilization, natural resources plan & interpretation from Humboldt State University. He holds various certifications, including a special district administrator certificate from the California Special Districts Institute, together with grade V wastewater treatment plant operator, grade IV collections systems operator, grade III water treatment plant operator, grade II water distribution operator and Grade I laboratory analyst licensing as well as a commercial driver’s license.
The surge of staffing support in the district also involves an increased role for the district’s chief financial officer, Shamindra “Rickey” Manbahal. In his elevated role, Manbahal will manage a number of departments, including finance, accounting, customer service, procurement, general services, information technology, geographic information systems, and human resources.
In addition, the board of directors appointed Peggy Asche as board secretary. Asche started within the customer service department in December 1981 and has since received promotions to the billing, engineering, operations and administrative departments. Ms. Asche also served as board secretary from 2004-2015.
The board of directors also approved a three year labor agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12. The union will represent about 50 non-management employees. Under the agreement, employees will be represented by a union representative in personnel-related matters.
-Mark Gutglueck

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