Former sewer official goes to court to stop release of records about him

Daniel Child

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

The former head of a sewage processing agency that serves Menlo Park, San Carlos, Belmont and Redwood City plans to go to court to stop the Post from obtaining public records related to his departure, for which he was paid $875,000.

Silicon Valley Clean Water Manager Theresa Herrera said yesterday (Sept. 26) that she intended to withhold from the Post documents until the legal challenge by former manager Dan Child can be heard by a judge.

The Post is attempting to obtain records to explain why the agency paid Child $875,000 in connection with his agreement to resign.
According to Herrera, Child will attempt to block the release of the following:

• A settlement agreement with a former employee who complained about Child;

• Child’s May 10, 2018, resignation letter;

• The agency’s May 22, 2018, notice of termination issued to Child.

Because Child is threatening to get a court order, Herrera said her agency will hold off on sending the Post these documents until the issue is resolved. All three documents were supposed to be released to the Post yesterday afternoon.

The Post wanted to ask Herrera how Child learned about the Post’s records requests. However, Herrera did not respond to multiple attempts to reach her for comment yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.

On Sept. 6, the Post requested separation agreements, resignation letters and severance notice issued or received by the agency between July 30, 2017 and Sept. 1, 2019.

A claim against Child was settled

The Post decided to seek these documents after obtaining Child’s separation agreement with the agency. His separation agreement indicated that the agency had settled a claim against Child by another employee for an undisclosed amount. (See page 5 of the separation agreement, top of the page, and the first attachment to the settlement agreement, PDF pages 10-23.)

The nature of the complaint and the employee’s name were redacted. In fact, 13 of the 24 pages of the separation agreement attachment were redacted by the agency either in whole or in part. Some of the pages were completely redacted, with a large black box covering all text on the page.

For the past two months the Post has been looking into Child’s departure after receiving a portion of Child’s separation agreement in July and discovering that Child was paid $875,000 to leave the agency and settle any claims he had filed with the agency.

In previous records request disclosures, some clues have been revealed as to why Child’s payout was so high.

Based on the documents that the Post has received from the agency so far, most of the $875,000 represented equity the agency gave him in a $4.25 million, six-bedroom home in the Emerald Hills. When the house was first listed for sale in July, the asking price was $4.59 million, and has been dropping ever since.

Letters the Post received yesterday from Herrera about the release of the Dan Child records.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Previous documents the Post has obtained about the Dan Child payout

Aug. 14, 2019, letter from SVCW responding to Post’s public records request

March 28, 2006, Employment Agreement for Dan Child

Feb. 14, 2008, Amended and Restated Employment Agreement

Sept. 1, 2009, First Supplemental Employment Agreement

May 13, 2010, Amendment to 1st Supplemental Employment Agreement

Jan. 1, 2013, Second Amended and Restated Employment Agreement

Sept. 3, 2018, Child Settlement Agreement

1 Comment

  1. The problem is that SVCW doesn’t report directly to the voters. It’s board isn’t elected. The board, from what I can tell, is made up of appointees from each of the city councils in the area. So this agency is unaccountable to the public. It would be helpful to know who is on the SVCW board so that if I see any of them on a ballot in the future, I can vote against them.

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