Director of Operations

  • by Santa Margarita Water District
  • Aug 5, 2022

Job Location

26111 Antonio Parkway Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Application Deadline


How to Apply

Please visit our job opportunities page to apply.
Click on the below link then click on Job Opportunities to apply.

The Santa Margarita Water District (District) provides safe, reliable drinking water, recycled water and wastewater services to over 200,000 residents in Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano and the communities of Coto de Caza, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch, Ranch Mission Viejo Villages, and Talega in San Clemente. The District is the second largest retail water agency in Orange County. With a team of approximately 180 dedicated employees, Santa Margarita Water District is committed to developing local, reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective water supplies for today and generations to come. Information about the District and its facilities can be found at here.

Currently, the Santa Margarita Water District is seeking a Director of Operations and invites applications from qualified individuals who have significant experience working with water distribution/treatment systems and wastewater collection/treatment systems. Please see the full job description below for additional information.

The successful candidate will be comfortable interacting with all levels of staff as well as the Board of Directors; self-motivated with excellent judgment and high ethical standards; have exceptional verbal and written communication skills, along with the ability to multi-task and organize. Leadership skills and the desire to build a team, foster education, and develop people, are critical to the position, combined with technical abilities to motivate and enhance employee morale. A sense of humor, and the desire to be innovative and open to new approaches, are foundational to the successful candidate.

The first review of applications will take place on Monday, August 15, 2022.

Under general direction of the General Manager and the Deputy General Manager, plans, organizes, integrates, directs and supervises the work of the Operations Department with approximately 100 employees and a budget of approximately $75 million; directs and

implements programs and strategies for the field operation and maintenance of the District’s water treatment plants, water and recycled water distribution systems, wastewater collection system and treatment systems, plants and facilities; oversees fleet and equipment maintenance activities; ensures all operations and maintenance functions are safe and efficient, while complying with applicable permits, laws and regulations; provides expert professional assistance and guidance to District’s Board, managers and supervisors on operational and maintenance issues.


The Director of Operations, as a Department Head, shall understand and promote the District’s mission, strategic goals, values and policies. As a Department Head, the Director of Operations also functions as a member of the District’s executive management team and participates actively in addressing issues of concern to the District, which at times may not have a direct impact on the Director’s area of specialization.

This position reports directly to the Deputy General Manager under the direction of the General Manager.


The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to this class.

Provides leadership and management including planning, goal setting, and evaluates the effectiveness of assigned areas; manages, integrates, and evaluates the work of the Operations Department; with managers, superintendents, foreman and staff, develops, implements and monitors work plans to achieve goals and objectives; contributes to the development of and monitors performance against the annual department budget; supervises and participates in developing, implementing and evaluating plans, work processes, systems and procedures to achieve annual goals, objectives and work standards including capital replacement and improvement programs.

Pursues implementation of goals in compliance with the policies and strategic direction set by the Deputy General Manager, General Manager, Board and all applicable laws and regulations; oversees the performance of department staff; oversees the interview process to select new staff; establishes performance requirements and departmental objectives; regularly monitors performance and provides coaching for performance improvement and development; recommends compensation and provides other rewards to recognize performance; hears and makes recommendations on grievances; approves overtime; approves or takes disciplinary action, up to and including termination, to address performance deficiencies and/or violation(s) of District policies, in accordance with District human resources policies and labor contract agreements.

Participates in the formulation of the District’s Strategic Plan, annual Business Plan and Board policies; directs the development of assigned department operating budgets.

Provides leadership and works with subordinate managers to ensure a high-performance, customer service-oriented work environment that supports achieving the department’s and the District’s missions, objectives and values regarding teamwork, mutual trust and respect; applies process improvement and quality management principles to assigned areas of responsibility.

Implements District policies and procedures in accordance with statutory, regulatory and other legal requirements. Leads the formulation and implementation of departmental policy, planning and strategic development; leads and directs staff and outside consulting resources in the development and application of new methods and processes to achieve higher efficiency, quality, and innovation in department work processes.

With subordinate managers, oversees the day-to-day water production and distribution activities and maintenance of water facilities and wastewater collection system, equipment and facilities including treatment plants; directs warehouse and purchasing operations to ensure that tools and equipment are available in a timely and cost-effective manner; ensures the District fleet and heavy equipment is maintained and safe for employees to operate; directs response to and recovery of service during emergencies.

Establishes and maintains positive working relationship and creates partnerships with the local cities and special districts as well as other agencies including but not limited to the County of Orange, MWD and MWDOC.

Through subordinate managers, maximizes the use of technology and the SCADA system to check reservoir levels, station operations, distribution flow and wastewater collection and treatment systems to ensure the proper functioning of water and wastewater facilities; works with District information technology professionals and engineers to prioritize the network, communication and equipment upgrades and expansions; provides operational insight and support on the development and implementation of new technologies including CMMS and GIS; ensures infrastructure, system security and data integrity controls are in place and operational.

Through subordinate managers and in coordination with the Deputy General Manager, oversees regulatory compliance including the work of the District’s laboratory; ensures sampling and testing protocols meet all regulatory standards and requirements; oversees the contracting of outside laboratory services; ensures water sampling, regulatory and compliance standards are met and required reports are submitted in a timely and accurate manner; oversees resolution of operating issues.

Makes recommendations to the Deputy General Manager and General Manager regarding policies, procedures and other matters directly or indirectly affecting the District.

Through subordinate managers, oversees the work of the District’s water, wastewater and advanced water treatment plants, ensures compliance with all permit restrictions and regulations; maintenance and repair to ensure the proper functioning of water, wastewater and recycled water facilities.

Ensures customer complaints/concerns regarding District operation and maintenance are investigated and addressed.

Participates in the analysis of proposed legislation and regulation; participates in industry and intergovernmental activities to influence legislative and regulatory change consistent with the District’s needs and interests.

Plans, directs, and supervises major repairs to District facilities; arranges for emergency equipment, contractors and directs the work of crews making emergency repairs; negotiates leases, rents, and contract agreements for District participation in regional facilities and/or local agency participation in use of District facilities per District policies and procedures; oversees the maintenance activities at all of the District’s facilities.

Ensures strict safety policies and safe work procedures; may assist as a First Responder in the event of emergencies, using required safety and personal protective equipment; ensures safety equipment is in sound working condition and that District employees have participated in safety training.

Interprets direction and assignments from the Deputy General Manager and/or General Manager; interprets District policies and applicable laws and regulations to ensure compliance within assigned areas of accountability.

Directs the preparation, completion and submission of a variety of mandated monthly, quarterly, and annual reports to regulatory agencies including the Air Quality Management District, California Department of Fish and Game, Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Oversees the treatment plant operations and ensures water quality is compliant with state, regional and federal standards.

Represents the District in negotiations and interactions with board members, other industry and governmental agencies; serves as the District’s representative to professional industry groups, community groups, customers, regulators including but not limited to the State Water Resources Control Board, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, the County of Orange Health Department and other agencies; participates in major negotiations with contractors, consultants, vendors and other public agencies.

Coordinates with the Chief Engineer and Engineering Department to review plans and specifications and provides input into facility design for existing and future District infrastructure including the District’s Capital Replacement and Improvement Plans.

Provides oversight and guidance on the integration of the District’s GIS and CMMS programs.

May act for the General Manager or Deputy General Manager in their absence.

Other duties include coordinating with District staff and other agencies concerning legislative bills and federal, state, county, city, Local Agency Formation Commission or other items that may impact the District. These duties may include participation in the Association of California Water Agencies, California Special Districts Association, or California Water Environment Association.