Ruffalo: Staff shuffles scream for a new address book

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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Looks as if I’ll have to add another item to my already bulky Christmas wish list. Seems I’m in dire need of a new address book because the current one is nearly illegible what with all of the strikeouts and additions. Let’s start with my home turf of Lake of the Pines. No sooner was the ink dry on the addition of the name of the new General Manager (Fred Dean-Turner), that I had to get rid of the names of several mid-level managers, including Public Safety Director Bob Markussen, Food and Beverage Director Dave Hicks, Finance Director Bonnie Silva and Public Works Director Bob Boardman. Some of the exits were expected, although Silva’s wasn’t. She went out on a disability claim. One reason for the lack of surprise on most of the other departures was Board Member Chuck Lautrup’s earlier pronouncements regarding a reorganization of department heads. Lautrup said the board felt there was duplication of resources by having so many mid-level directors when the whole operation would be better handled by a couple of so-called super managers. That very same idea worked for Placer County and the City of Auburn, and apparently the lesson was not lost upon the LOP Board. For example, longtime employee Pam Greska was in charge of member services and administrative support, but as Lautrup said, “she’s our most-highly paid employee and to have her (basically) take minutes of board meetings is a waste of resources.” So with the re-organization, Greska now oversees all of the association’s administrative functions.  However, Boardman’s departure is somewhat shocking, seeing as how he had very recently been selected as one of those aforementioned super managers. But he surprised nearly all of us by announcing a few days ago that after 29 years it was in his “personal best interests” to retire. To be candid, Boardman did not have an easy go during those few weeks of his new position, especially during the Thanksgiving rains when lake water rose so high it caused lakeside damage and also spilled over the dam. Such unplanned spillage not only causes damage, but also manages to grab the attention of the state’s Water Resources Board, which casts a dim view on abnormal flows into Coyote Creek. And we all remember that state water board fines can be — and many times are — assessed for each day of non-compliance. On the other hand, the large number of comings and goings at LOP aren’t the only cause for all the new scribbling in my overloaded address book. Local public safety is making so many moves of late that perhaps Velcro needs to be added to the uniforms so we can more economically make the name changes. The City of Roseville is a prime example with both the Police Chief and Fire Chief being short-timers, along with several high-ranking members of that city’s fire department. City sources swear that all of the retirements were planned before the recent Galleria debacle, but perhaps we’ll have to wait until yet another report is made public in order to find out the veracity of that claim. With all that in mind, it’s a good thing that Ed Bonner is sticking around as Sheriff, because my little black book also shows vacancies and new arrivals at Rocklin and Lincoln, while it seems I just got done removing the names of the CHP’s commanders at both Auburn (Newcastle) and Grass Valley. There’s more! I should also report that the FBI’s Drew Parenti, the local Special Agent in Charge, has turned in his retirement papers. Parenti is off to Pennsylvania to work for Penske Trucking. Getting back to Bonner; turns out he’s so permanent that he’s the second longest-serving sheriff in the state, trailing only San Francisco’s Mike Hennessey. And that could change next year if rumors are true that Hennessey may pull the plug rather than undergo the rigors of another re-election campaign. Although Bonner is a fixture, there has been a number of changes within his department, starting with Jeff Ausnow. He was the Lieutenant who took care of the press releases but has been promoted to Captain and sent up to Tahoe to replace the retiring Jeff Granum. Meanwhile, Mark Reed will be the new press-relations guy for PCSO. Allin Carter, the Tahoe Lieutenant, is also retiring and he’ll be succeeded by John Weaver, who was the community services sergeant. Anybody else notice that retirements in the Tahoe area always seem to come just before the snows arrive? Jim Ruffalo’s column runs Sundays in the Journal. Reach him at