By George Miller
Oxnard is abuzz this week over the mysterious, unheralded departure of Community Development Director Jeff Lambert. We first heard about it from a city official, who professed to not know why. He later wrote me: “Staff is totalling [sic] baffled. Staff said they liked Jeff, and “everyone got along well with Jeff”. Furthermore, they came in Friday and were told Jeff no longer works for the city but no answers to questions were offered not even how staff could contact Jeff to say goodbye.”
Keith Brooks, Oxnard’s IT Director, was also added to the MIA list. No one we know seems to have any idea why- or at least they’re not telling us.
City officials would not reveal anything about what happened, according to multiple people we talked to. Assistant City Manger Ashley Golden wrote me: “The City cannot comment on personnel matters.”
Lambert, who came to the position in 2019 from Ventura, where he held a similar position for years, had taken on a number of bold initiatives and seemed to be making good progress. We heard that he had tangled with a few parties on various issues, such as the downtown improvements. The location of a new homeless shelter/navigation center downtown is a huge point of contention with well over 100 city businessman opposing it. Ditto with the proposed teardown of a four story office building on Saviers, which would be replaced with a liquor-serving 7-11.
The City didn’t even have time to take down his bio, before I snatched a copy:
(Sorry about the readability, but one of Oxnard’s “improved transparency” projects was to prevent copy/pasting of its web site contents.)
Since there was no celebratory language, announcement, or mention of where he went, it doesn’t look like a voluntary move.
We heard some rumors only, so we won’t dignify them with publication.
There is a snap special council closed meeting on Wednesday evening. We don’t know if there is any connection to this.
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.