Michael Taylor & Russ Decker
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services
Mr. Taylor joined the Escondido Union School District in December 2012. He previously worked for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District as Executive Director of Fiscal Support Services for three and a half years. Prior to that he worked at the San Dieguito Union High School District in Encinitas, California, as the Director of Finance for four years. Before that he served 20 years in the United States Marine Corps, primarily in financial management, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in March 2005. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom I (2003), and his personal decorations include: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Mr. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics/German from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; a Master of Science degree in Finance from Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California; and a certificate in school business management from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Director Facilities Planning & Construction
Mr. Decker has been an education facilities development professional for many years. He has been the Director of Planning Design and Construction at California State University San Marcos, Assistant Director of Capital Planning and Budgeting at UCSD, and Assistant Director of University Planning and Budgeting at the University of Illinois.
Before joining Escondido Union School District as Director of Facilities Planning and Construction, Russ worked for the Sweetwater Union High School District.
Michael has over 22 years of election experience. Before being appointed in December 2012 as the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Mr. Vu served for over five years as the Assistant Registrar. He is responsible for election administration of one of the largest election jurisdictions in the country with a registered voter population of over 1.67 million. Mr. Vu oversees all primary, general, special, and district elections for the County as well as elections for the surrounding municipalities.
Before his appointment in San Diego County, Mr. Vu worked for three and a half years for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Ohio, as Director. Prior to relocating to Ohio, he spent seven years working for the Salt Lake County Elections Division under the direction of the Salt Lake County Clerk.
He has worked tirelessly to improve the elections process and has been involved on both a local and national level to discuss the status of election administration. He has testified before the United States House Administration Committee and the United States Election Assistance Commission.
He has also spoken with numerous international, national and local media outlets, most notably The New York Times, CNN, TV Asahi, The Washington Post, and The BBC.
Property assessor for 28 years, partner in the largest audit and tax consulting firm in the world, nationally recognized tax expert, small business owner and flower farmer, Ernie has the broadest
and best background possible for the office of Assessor of San Diego County. Ernie is considered an expert in state and local tax administration having been involved at all levels of tax administration for over 36 years. A graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in Business Administration, Finance, he first worked eight years for the California State Board of Equalization as a Tax Auditor.
Then in 1978, Mr. Dronenburg won his first of five consecutive 4-year terms
as an Equalization Board Member. He served as Chairman of the Board of Equalization,
as well as a member and the Chairman of the Franchise Tax Board, on five different occasions.
In 1998 he was termed out of office and joined Deloitte & Touche LLP, as the National Partner
in Charge of the State Tax Controversy and Government Relations.
During his years in office he served as Chairman of the Board of Equalization,
Property Tax Committee. For the 20 years he was on the Board his duties included
being a local property tax assessor, assessing complex property located in all 58
California counties. He also personally wrote the initial Prop 13 Property Assessment Rules,
major changes in the sales taxation and he heard more than 20,000 tax appeals.
Among the significant pieces of tax legislation that Ernie has been sponsor and
principal drafter of is the California Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Ernie has held the position of president and/or board member on almost every
major state tax association in the United States, including, in 1997, being appointed
by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives to be a commissioner
on the IRS Restructuring Commission, President of the Federation of Tax Administrators
and Western States Association of Tax Administrators. During his time in office,
he has received many awards and distinctions but in his last year in office he was
given two significant tributes that have never been given to any other state tax administrator.
The first was the 1998 Distinguished Public Service Award by the National Tax Executives
Institute (TEI), an honor he was truly proud to receive, and then the State Board of Equalization
named its only major conference room, in its Sacramento headquarters building,
the Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr. Conference Room. He left the State Board of Equalization
in 1998 due to the term limits initiative passed in 1992.
Since joining Deloitte Tax LLP in January 1999, Ernie served more than 50 of the Fortune 500
clients of the firm. His practice included property tax, income tax and sales tax consulting
in the 14 western states. He has lectured and spoken at Universities and Professional conferences,
workshops and symposiums. Ernie left Deloitte Tax in May of 2006 because of age limitation
on firm partners. He started his own Taxpayer’s Advocacy firm the day after he left with
Deloitte Tax as his main client.
In an effort to serve his local community in July of 1999 he agreed to an appointment
to the San Diego County Board of Education. His fellow members elected him President
of the Board in January 2000 and reelected him in January 2001. He was elected to his own
four-year term in March 2002. In 2005, because he had moved his residence, Ernie resigned from the Board.
He and his late wife Kathy had lived in San Diego County for over 50 years. Kathy was a member
and Vice President of the State Board of Education for 12 years. She died on March 9, 2002
of breast cancer. They had three children: Kristen, married and a structural engineer and
mother of two children; Amy a worker in a sheltered workshop; and Stephanie,
formerly a kindergarten schoolteacher and now the mother of identical twin boys.
On November 15, 2003, he married Marilyn Herlihy. Marilyn and Ernie have seven grandchildren
and they live on a 33 acre flower farm in Fallbrook, California. In his leisure time Ernie is an avid sailor and sports fan.
Eric Larson is the Executive Director of the
San Diego County Farm Bureau. He has held
that position since January 1997. Eric began
working in San Diego County’s agricultural industry
in 1971. Previous to joining Farm Bureau he
spent 13 years as the general manager of an agricultural
marketing cooperative after working in production agriculture.
In addition to his work in agriculture, Eric served
two terms as a member of the Carlsbad City Council
and is a past director of the Carlsbad Municipal
Water District, the San Diego County Water Authority,
and the Encina Wastewater Authority. He recently
served as chair of the committee to re-write the
City of Carlsbad’s General Plan.
After almost 50 years at their previous location
at 1670 East Valley Parkway, the Farm Bureau recently
moved to a new location at 420 S. Broadway, Escondido -
just a few blocks south of downtown Escondido.
Eric and his wife Jennifer live in Carlsbad and
have two grown sons.
Ken Weinberg is a former utility executive with 32 years
of public agency experience who served as the Director
of Water Resources for the San Diego County Water Authority. In that role, he was responsible for long-term water supply and facilities planning, drought management and environmental compliance and permitting for $4 Billion of Water Authority capital projects. He successfully led the Water Authority’s years’ long effort to develop and approve a Water Purchase Agreement for the 50 million gallons per day Carlsbad Desalination Project.
Now the Principal /Owner of Ken Weinberg
Water Resources Consulting LLC, Ken assists clients
in water supply and capital facilities planning, local water
supply project development and regulatory compliance,
and providing strategic advice on water policy issues.
Before starting at the Water Authority in 1991, he worked
for the City of San Diego conducting long term facility
planning. He is a member of the California State University
San Marcos faculty and teaches a course on Water
Management Fundamentals and Practice in California
as part of a Certificate Program in Water Resources
Management and Leadership.
Dan McAllister has served San Diego County residents as the County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector since 2002. He was re-elected to his fourth term in June 2014 by an overwhelming 99% majority of the vote.
Since assuming office, he has worked extensively to improve customer service, enhance communications and outreach initiatives, and ensure the fiscal stability of the treasury. Under his direction, his office collected nearly 60% of property tax payments electronically for the first time, while maintaining a 99% collection rate for the past three years.
Dan contributes considerable time and resources to community service. A second-generation San Diegan,
Dan has completed executive education programs in portfolio concepts and management at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree (BA) from California State University, Fresno, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from United States International University.
Sam Abed – Mayor of Escondido
Lived in Escondido with his wife Mona and two daughters since 1987
Spent 12 years successful career with IBM worldwide – 1974 to 1987
Founder, President, Abed Corporation, Pacific West Consulting since 1987
Mayor, Elected in 2010 and 2014. City Councilmember 2004 to 2010
City Council Committees: San Diego Association of Government (SANDAG)
Board, Regional Planning, Transportation, Local Formation Commission
(LAFCO), Escondido Economic Development and Workforce Development
San Diego Economic Development Corporation – Board Member
San Diego Workforce Investment Board – Former Board Member
Escondido Chamber of Commerce – Chairman 2002
East Valley and Mercado Business Associations – Founder, Past Chairman
Escondido Marketing Committee – Former Board Member
Escondido Police Citizen Patrol – Former Volunteer
Escondido Charitable Foundation – Former Member
Provided 10 Education Alliance Grants to local Escondido schools
Escondido Rotary Club since 1988 – Paul Harris Member
IBM Engineer of the Year Award – 1983
Escondido Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year – 1999
Escondido Police Award for National Night Out Against Crime – 1999
Escondido City Council Achievement Recognition Award – 2001
Escondido City Council Business Leader of the Year Award – 2003
East Valley Business Association Volunteer of the Year Award – 2004
Mercado Business Association Leadership Star of Excellence Award- 2005
Top 50 People To Watch Award – North San Diego County Magazine – 2005
Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen of the Year – 2013
Associated Builders & Contractors Excellence in Leadership Award – 2014
Plays Tennis – Fluent in 3 languages – Traveled to 25 countries.
Jeffrey Epp joined the City of Escondido in August
of 1985 as a Deputy City Attorney. Mr. Epp had
previously graduated from the University of Wyoming
law school in 1984, and served as a prosecutor for
both the City of Rawlins and the City of Cheyenne,
Wyoming. After re-locating to Escondido, he held the
titles of Deputy, Senior Deputy, and Assistant City
Attorney before being appointed as City Attorney in
1996. Throughout his tenure serving as City Attorney,
Mr. Epp worked as a key part of the City’s senior
management team, and worked with several city
managers and mayors.
Although contemplating retirement, Mr. Epp
agreed to serve the City Council as an Interim City
Manager in March of 2017. After three busy months,
Mr. Epp agreed to assume the regular position as
City Manager. Escondido is a full service, general
law City. The City covers approximately 37 square
miles, with a population of 148,738 and more than
1,000 part-time and full-time employees. The City
has its own Police and Fire Departments, as well
as Water and Wastewater Departments. The City
is home to a Westfield Mall, Palomar Pomerado Hospital,
the Escondido Auto Park, Daley Ranch Recreational
Preserve, Kit Carson Regional Park, and Stone Brewing,
among many other growing and dynamic businesses.
Fire Chief Rick Vogt joined the Escondido Fire Department in March 2015 to serve as the Training and EMS Division Chief and promoted to Deputy Chief-Operations in 2016. He was appointed Fire Chief in April 2017.
Before joining Escondido Fire Department, Chief Vogt served the San Marcos Fire Department for nearly 10 years as an EMS, Administrative and field Battalion Chief. Prior to that, Chief Vogt worked for CAL FIRE in Riverside County for 15 years, including assignments as a Station Captain, Training Officer and Public Affairs Bureau Manager. Chief Vogt also served as a member of the command staff of “CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 6” for eleven years.
Chief Vogt is currently a member of the California and San Diego County Fire Chiefs Associations. He has also served as a member of the San Diego County Emergency Medical Care Committee, the chair of the San Diego Operational Area CICCS Committee, and the President of the California Fire Technology Directors Association.
Chief Vogt earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree at Point Loma Nazarene University and a Masters degree in Public Administration at CSU San Bernardino. Chief Vogt has been married for 25 years to his wife Karen, who is a fifth-grade elementary school teacher. They have four children: Kierstin (21) is a senior at Cal Baptist University majoring in liberal studies, Annika (14) is a high school freshman, and twins Eric and Caitlyn (9) are in the fourth grade.
Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter
Craig Carter has worked for the Escondido Police Department since 1990 when he was hired as a Police Reserve Officer. Craig was hired as a Police Officer Trainee in 1992. Craig has risen through the ranks and was ultimately promoted to Chief of Police in August 2013.
Craig has worked in nearly every division in the Escondido Police Department. Chief Carter was a member of the DUI enforcement team, SWAT, Off-Road Motorcycle Team, and has been a vocal advocate for the Community Policing philosophy. He has served as an incident commander for several of Escondido’s critical incidents. Craig spent several years as the department’s press information officer and even served four years as the police association president.
He was an adjunct instructor at Palomar College for over 20 years teaching in the Administration of Justice department and police academies. In 2007, Chief Carter trained Marines at Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii in the area of community policing, crime scene management, basic criminal intelligence and crime scene investigation prior to their deployment to Afghanistan.
Craig has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration and is a graduate of the POST Command College. Craig’s specialties include emergency management mitigation, preparedness, and community policing.
In 2016, Chief Carter was appointed to the State 911 Advisory Board under Governor Brown.
Chief Carter has served as president of the San Diego County Chiefs’ & Sheriff’s Association since 2014.
Chief Carter is married with three grown children.