LMUD responds to Lassen News’ California Public Records Act request

Former Lassen Municipal Utility District General Manager Pat Holley. File photo

Lassen News received an email response today to a California Records Act request regarding a possible severance package for Lassen Municipal Utility District General Manager Pat Holley.

In response to readers’ concerns, Lassen News filed a California Public Records Act request for information on a possible severance package for Holley and also a copy of his written Notice of Resignation or a Notice of Termination from the board as required by his contract.

According to LMUD’s response to our CPRA request, neither a Notice of Resignation from Holley nor a Notice of Termination are available because they are not in LMUD’s possession or they do not exist.

According to LMUD’s response regarding the question of a possible severance package for Holley, LMUD responded, “Any severance package is still in draft and is not available through a Public Records Act request … Thank you for your ongoing and continued interest in the affairs of LMUD. If you have any questions for concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Eugene Chittock, LMUD’s general counsel.”

Lassen News tried to contact both Chittock and LMUD spokesperson Theresa Phillips Thursday afternoon to clarify the language in LMUD’s response to our CPRA request, but neither were available.

Due to the public interest in this matter, Lassen News has filed another CPRA request for information on a possible severance package for Holley with both Chittock and Phillips when that information becomes available for public release.

Announcement of closed session action
According to a June 28, 2023, statement from LMUD “Pat Holley has resigned from his position as general manager of Lassen MUD in order to spend time with family and pursue other career opportunities. Mr. Holley’s last day as GM will be July 5, 2023.

“Board President, Fred Nagel, directed staff to begin the process of recruiting a replacement. An interim general manager will be named at a later date.

“Mr. Holley thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the district.”

What’s in Holley ‘s contract?
Here’s the information in Holley ‘s contract regarding discipline and termination.

Discipline and termination.
For cause by district. Subject to the rights afforded Holley under Public Utility Code section 11929, the district reserves the right to immediately terminate this agreement or otherwise discipline Holley if “just cause” exists for Holley ‘s termination, demotion or other discipline. “Just cause” includes, but is not limited to: breaches the duties which Holley is required to perform under the terms of this agreement; acts of dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation; incompetence; intemperance; immoral conduct; insubordination; discourteous treatment of the public or district employees; being under the influence while on duty; conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; inexcusable absence without leave; improper use of district property; falsification of reports; violation of safety rules; and inattention to public service. The district may, at its option, commence discipline in accordance with GMAP 2006-03 or otherwise terminate this agreement for the reasons stated herein by giving written notice of termination to Holley without prejudice to any other remedy to which the district may be entitled, either at law, in equity, or under this agreement. The Notice of Termination required by this section shall specify the grounds for termination and shall be supported by a brief statement of relevant facts. In the event of such termination for cause, Holley shall neither be entitled, nor shall receive, any future payment of compensation beyond the termination date, nor any benefits or programs, which are not yet fully vested at the time of such termination for cause.

Without cause by district. Notwithstanding any other provision contained in this agreement, within five years from the date of execution of this agreement, and upon an affirmative vote of not less than three-fifths of the board, Holley may be terminated without any cause whatsoever.

During this five-year period of time, Holley is deemed an at-will/probationary employee, without any Skelly, GMAP 2006-03, or similar due process rights. If the district elects to terminate Holley under this ‘without cause’ provision, the district shall cause Holley to be paid a severance amount equal to 12-months of his then-current monthly salary. The total amount of severance pay shall be designated as wages subject to withholdings and W2 tax reporting. Other than this severance pay, Holley shall neither be entitled, nor shall receive, any payment of compensation beyond the termination date, nor any benefits or programs, which are not yet fully vested at the time of such termination without cause. Deposit of any severance check/money issued by the district to Holley shall result in a full and complete waiver, discharge and release of any and all claims Holley may have against the district, whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise. Failure to deposit any severance check/money shall not affect the validity of the without cause termination. The only claims not included in this waiver, discharge and release would be Workers Compensation benefits or Disability Retirement benefits in regard to an incident that occurred prior to the date of termination.

By resignation.
Holley may terminate this agreement upon 60 days written notice of resignation presented to the president of the board. In such case, Holley shall not be entitled to any further compensation for the unexpired term of this agreement beyond the termination date set forth in Holley’s Notice of Resignation, nor shall Holley be entitled to any benefits or other programs which are not yet vested at the time of the effective date of such resignation.