Pleasanton names new director of water, utilities department

Kathleen Yurchak succeeds Daniel Smith as Operations Services chief

Kathleen Yurchak, formerly Pleasanton's Community Services Manager and for the last two years assistant director of operations, was named Monday to head that department, succeeding Daniel Smith, who retired.

Yurchak, who has has been in public service for 18 years, including the last eight with Pleasanton, won out over 60 applicants for the job. Eight became finalists, including a mix of city department heads and a general manager from a nearby water agency, who went through two panel interviews.

"Kathleen has distinguished herself as the most knowledgeable in organizational management, strategic planning, infrastructure planning, budgeting and human resources, as well as having a deep understanding and appreciation for the work performed at the Operation Services Center," said City Manager Nelson Fialho, who made the appointment.

In addition to serving as director of the Operations Center, located on Busch Road, Yurchak also will have charge of water utilities. With nearly 100 full-time equivalent positions and a total operating budget of $63 million, the two groups comprise the largest department in the city government.

The department includes the operational and maintenance functions of utilities (water and

sewer), streets, sign shop, parks, support services and fleet, environmental services, and the customer service center (utility billing and meter reading).

She will also have responsibility for shaping local and regional water policies in partnership with Fialho, the City Council, the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), Zone 7 Water Agency and the cities of Dublin, Livermore

and San Ramon.


3 people like this
Posted by Mr. Cheney
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:47 am

Congratulations!! This will be a great fit for our community! I'm glad to see that the city leaders hired from the inside and it can only be a huge benefit to our whole community. Hope your transition is a smooth one. Good Luck!!

1 person likes this
Posted by Don
a resident of Ironwood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:11 am

A very good choice for someone I had the honor to work with while I served my time on the Human Services Commission. She worked closely with us all and always conducted herself in the most professional manor. Congratulation Kathleen.

2 people like this
Posted by Ratepayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:13 pm

I hope this gang was smart enough to have contract rights to hire from within...without that obscene finder's fee. Please don't tell us there's another shoe to drop. I keep searching for both competence and integrity in 'one' person or group. Please demonstrate they do co-exist. ? ? ?

4 people like this
Posted by Ratepayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm

I'm still waiting to hear there are NO bribes, ransom, commissions, or finder's fees, involved in this internal switch. In the days of internet, there is really no reason, ever, to PAY for a name to fill and overpriced position. Maybe we, the taxpaying public, need to look into these hiring and employment practices. We already know how police and fire practice rotating doors upward to spend a few pay periods at highest levels, to set higher lifetime retirements....and get them all in before their birthday. Should be outlawed in last two years, and requiring rare justification.
So little personal integrity or shame these days.

5 people like this
Posted by headhunter
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

RP: first of all, what in the world are you complaining about -- Twice? There was no fee here!

Also, I'll bet you call yourself a free marketeer -- an enemy of regulation by the nanny state, right? Who do you think sets the prices for search firms -- The MARKET Does! And competitive bidding in some cases. When all you see is "the name" you are blissfully ignorant of all the work that goes into it.

It's true that the web has changed the value proposition from 'just a name' to judgment and due diligence about the candidates-- but that value is real and continuing. So please buzz-off.

Finally, do you have a favorite bird? Is it the grouse? I thought so.

2 people like this
Posted by Ratepayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:35 am

After a day without an answer it was reasonable to inquire again...wanting a simple yes or no. Thank you. After the recent discussion of the Zone 7 fiasco, this is a logical part of any announcement from here on.... and a reminder to all public groups, the spotlights are now turned up brighter than in the past. It is always good to discuss current abuses as well.
I must have hit a bit close to home, for you to be SO testy !

3 people like this
Posted by headhunter
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:44 am

This was not the first time you've made that attack on my profession, and it's a bit like parenting -- you let one misbehavior slide and there is danger it will be repeated.

Was it close to home? Emotionally yes -- it's irritating, just as you might find an unprovoked attack on your work annoying. Accurately no -- it was so wide of the mark that your butt's in danger of a direct hit.

5 people like this
Posted by Ratepayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

I see you also want us to be a competitive 'MARKET'. Really? Great! I'm with you. NO lifetime pensions. Can just hire hourly rate 'contractors' as is commonplace today. You know work 8 hour days, missing even Christmas Day pay. I know a 'professional' who has lived with that for 6 years. Quite common.
Since we the people are the employers, the 'market' sounds good. As the employer, I do expect a simple answer if a headhunter is used, and if so who, how much, reasonable rate, etc. CA is after all, an at will state...if a market employer doesn't like you, you're gone at end of the day. Those are the rules. EXCEPT for public employees, many don't even appreciate what they have, and even dare to abuse. You bet I will ask the question, and it will be answered.

10 people like this
Posted by Easymoney
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Let me guess - a salary increase to $350,000? Why do we need a director of water/utilities, we don't even have a treatment plant, and we're still in a drought. Sounds like just more bureaucracy.

3 people like this
Posted by headhunter
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

You're deflecting -- or trying to. Nobody is questioning the ask -- but the repetitive, haranguing editorial is a different story.

5 people like this
Posted by Ratepayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2015 at 2:52 pm

headhunter, repetitive haranguing as you say is for all to get the latest message...oversight! Any group or agency that receives any portion of public funds, directly or indirectly, will be watched closely. No unnecessary or out of line expenditures..or no I'll scratch yours and your scratch mine either, not with public funds.
The Grand Jury revelations this week in the Cook-Kallio thread on this site have reminded all that oversight means caution with and care of public funds. All these groups need energetic, alert watchdogs.

Like this comment
Posted by ???
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 19, 2015 at 3:11 pm

How about staying on topic and congratulating Kathleen Yurchak on her promotion not to mention that the city finally promoted from within!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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