The Placer County Treasurer Jenine Windeshausen who has been the spark plug in the creation of Pioneer Community Energy and has served as it Executive Director since being appointed by the Board of Directors on July 26, 2016, made a surprise announcement yesterday that she was resigning as the Executive Director and Secretary of the agency because of a board decision on Monday that would force her to accept a financial decision she could not support for the future of the Power Agency. In her resignation letter she stated: “my professional training and experience do not align with the July 29, 2019 Board direction related to debt and fiscal management of Pioneer Community Energy. As a result, I am no longer willing to serve as executive director or secretary of Pioneer Community Energy.”
The status of the board decision comes down to short term rate benefits to customers, and the long term survival of a public utility that must pay its debt back to the county for startup costs (40 million dollars) and the stabilization of the agencies financial status with rainy day funds to stabilize the organization so they qualify for long term stability to purchase contracts for electricity at rates that will secure the stability of costs for the local power company over time. This is the classic battle between short term benefits and long-term stability which is the classic battle between utility thinking and political thinking. Negotiations on long term contracts, such as required by a utility, requires and demands a stable financial concept or it will not work. Windeshausen pledged to support finding a new Executive Director unless the board chooses to not let her participate, and will maintain the leadership role through this transition to a new leader when hired. A meeting has been scheduled for August 5, 2019 to to discuss recruitment planning.