james_ruthWhen the California Special District Association gathered in Monterey last week, they not only used the time to instruct and promote good governance, they celebrated the many successes that Special Districts enjoyed in the last year. Among the successes is Orange County Sanitation Director James Ruth, who was awarded the CSDA’s Award for General Manager of the Year.

The honor recognized Ruth for his success in streamlining the agency by taking a strategic, long-term approach to conducting the Sanitation District’s business while maintaining consistently high standards. 

James D. Ruth came to the Orange County Sanitation District in 2005 after serving as CEO for the County of Orange. The District is the third largest wastewater treatment system west of Mississippi with 637 employees. The 57-year-old agency serves 550,000 parcels, representing 2.6 million people and has $6.2 billion in assets with a budget of $437 million.  

At the time Mr. Ruth took over as General Manager, the agency had an aging workforce and needed to streamline processes, management functions, and operational issues while completing a massive construction process designed to meet full secondary by January 2013. 

Over the past several years, Mr. Ruth implemented changes with vision and leadership. The OCSD culture changed in a positive way. The district is more efficient and effective with a greater focus on our mission to protect public health and the environment while preparing future leaders to meet upcoming challenges. His open door policy has encouraged an open exchange of ideas that have built a collaborative decision-making process, producing changes to advance the organizational and financial strength of the Orange County Sanitation District.

We, at PublicCEO, would like to join the CSDA in recognizing and congratulating James Ruth for being proclaimed their General Manager of the Year.