The recently terminated general manager of Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District told the Tehachapi News on Friday afternoon that he was surprised to lose his job earlier this week.
In press releases issued by the TVRPD the district first said Wood had resigned then said he had been terminated. Board president Gayle Stewart said the board met in closed session at the end of a special meeting held Tuesday, June 26, and took action to allow Wood to resign or be terminated.
“It was unfortunate,” Wood said Friday afternoon hours before another special meeting was set to begin at 4 p.m. “The board went into closed session and I was ask to leave on Tuesday night out of the meeting. About an hour and a half later I was informed that I had the option to resign or be terminated. I felt that I had no reason to resign so it was a termination. I never resigned or never turned in a letter of resignation or anything like that.”
Although the board listed evaluation of the general manager on its closed session agenda twice during June, Wood said the action was not expected.
“t was a total surprise.,” he said. “It caught me off guard. I turned in my office keys, the keys to my car and cleaned out my desk that night and we were done. That's the board. The general manager serves at the pleasure of the board.”
Wood was a member of the Board of Directors of TVRPD in May 2012 when former General Manager Gary Opfermann resigned. At the time Kern County Supervisor Don Maben agreed that he would hold the seat held by Wood vacant to allow him to work for the district as interim General Manager, at an annual salary of $55,000, while the board sought a replacement for Opfermann.
In August 2010 the board extended Wood's interim general manager contract for 90 days to let him decide whether he wanted to become the full-time manager, according to a Tehachapi News report.
Wood told the Tehachapi News that he served as interim general manager for six months before the “interim” title was dropped.
As to his future plans, he said he's not in a hurry to do anything right away.
“I was a general contractor for for 30-some years, so there's always something. I might buy a house and flip it, that kind of thing,” he said. “I came in here to try and help the parks and rec get back on its feet and we did that. We improved the programs and added programs. We increased the number of kids and adults that came through the programs and we got the pool up and running. For two years now its been open year round.”
The skate park was also renovated and reopened during Woods' tenure.
“We established new relationships with the school district, the city, the county, a lot of private clubs and the churches that volunteer to work with us to do cleanup and projects at the parks. We provide the paint and materials and they come out and do the work. We had a really good thing going there for a couple of years there. The board just decided they're going to do something different.”
Two members of the five member board are appointed by the Tehachapi City Council and three by Kern County Board of Supervisors. In addition to Stewart they are Manuel Avila, Nick Cyr, Ernie Muro and Paulette Rush.
According to a press release, the board intends to establish a committee of the board to serve as interim general manager and action to put that in place is expected at a special meeting to be held at 4 p.m. On Friday, June 29, at the district office, 490 W. “D” St., Tehachapi.