North Tahoe utility GM resigns his post
After three years at the helm of the North Tahoe Public Utility District, General Manager Steve Rogers last week submitted his resignation to the board of directors.
The board accepted Rogers’ resignation at a special board meeting Friday, said President Lane Lewis.
He added that the board agreed to write a letter of commendation to Rogers for services well done, thanking him for his work with the district. The board will vote on a resolution to authorize the letter at its September meeting.
“It was a shock on all of us to receive [Rogers’ resignation],” Lewis said in a phone interview Friday. “But Steve leaves the district in very good shape and you know we’ll miss him, and the community will miss him. He’s been a great asset for the district and the community.”
Rogers will leave the district on Oct. 5 to accept a position as town manager for Yountville in Napa Valley.
The North Tahoe utility board will appoint an interim general manager upon Rogers’ departure. The board will accept applications for the position in October, Lewis said.
“It was a very difficult decision, but it was made for personal reasons,” Rogers said.
“It felt like it was a very good opportunity [in Yountville] for me, both personally and professionally.”
Rogers came to the North Tahoe Public Utility District in July 2004, and said in an interview that he has since led the organization through “some interesting challenges.”
“It’s been a very good ride and I have no regrets,” Rogers said.
Lewis commended Rogers’ response to Lake Tahoe’s largest sewage spill in July 2005, when a worker punctured a hole in a sewer main, spilling thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the lake.
“I thought he did an outstanding job during that crisis,” Lewis said. “They did a tremendous job in cleaning up and notifying the public.”
The district’s top administrator, Rogers oversaw the planning and completion of the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area. He revamped the funding strategy for the debt-stricken North Tahoe Conference Center, and Rogers worked hard for the $1 million grant to build the new synthetic soccer field at the North Tahoe Regional Park.
“I feel that’s going to be a real positive asset to the recreation department,” Rogers said.
For the past two years, Rogers worked with the finance committee, the operations committee and the board of directors to compile a five-year plan for critical district-wide sewer and water-system improvements. And he developed a financial structure to fund the necessary projects.
“[Rogers] got us through this period in time when [the board] had a lot of discussion and different points of view,” Lewis said. “We got a plan together with 100 percent buy-in from both the board and staff. The next step is implementing the capital improvement projects for the next five years.”
Lewis said Rogers was leaving the district at a good moment.
“I think all the board members feel good about this transition period,” Lewis said.
Perhaps more notable than his accomplishments, Rogers leaves behind a legacy of teamwork and partnerships.
“It’s really sad when we’ve developed a good working relationship with Steve,” Lewis said. “You feel like he’s part of the family when he leaves, and that’s tough.”
Former North Tahoe Business Association Executive Director Pam Jahnke worked with Rogers throughout his career, and called him a visionary. He created important partnerships between many different groups in the North Tahoe community, including the business community, the Boys and Girls Club and the Latino community.
“It’s a big loss for our community,” Jahnke said. “I really enjoyed working with Steve. I just think he brought a lot of outside experience to our small community.”
The general manager of the neighboring Tahoe City public utility, Bob Lourey, agreed with Jahnke, noting Rogers’ effort to build internal relationships within the North Tahoe district, as well as foster the relationship between Tahoe City and North Tahoe.
“I think it’s the goal of all parties that we continue to have a strong relationship,” Lourey said. “It only helps one another.”
Rogers said he was still numb from the difficult decision. There is no easy time for a transition like this, he said.
“I have absolutely no regrets,” Rogers said. “This has been a great opportunity.”