Marin Agricultural Land Trust CEO resigns after short term

The chief executive of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust has been leaving office for just nine months, the organization said on Thursday.

MALT gave no reason for Thane Kreiner’s resignation. He will be replaced by Jennifer Carlin, Director of Advancement at MALT.

Kreiner could not be reached for comment.

Robert McGee, Chairman of the Board of MALT, said: “We appreciate the ideas and vision Thane brought to MALT. “

Carlin “will prioritize the closure of new agricultural conservation easements and the ongoing maintenance of working Marin’s farms and ranches, through the MALT Stewardship Assistance Program and programs such as the last year’s drought resilience and water security initiative, ”the organization said in its announcement.

Kreiner’s departure comes as the Marin County Supervisory Board considers whether to continue to allocate a designated amount of Measure A funds to help MALT purchase agricultural easements. Measure A ends on March 31 and preparations are underway to place an initiative on the June 7 ballot to extend it.

In mid-November, Marin County Parks Director Max Korten released a draft new spending plan for Measure A that would have reduced the overall allocation for agriculture from 20 percent to 10 percent. Under this plan, no fixed amount of Measure A funds would have been allocated to easements.

Currently, 95% of the measure A funds intended for agriculture are intended for the preservation of agricultural land.

“It caught us off guard,” said Andrew Giacomini, MALT board member, in a meeting with the Independent Journal’s editorial board earlier this month.

About 54,000 of the county’s more than 100,000 acres of farmland are protected by conservation easements from the MALT.

During the editorial board meeting, Giacomini said the Parks Department may feel pressure to cut MALT funding for those unhappy with the updated Point Reyes National Seashore General Management Plan, which extends the length of time cattle ranchers can rent parks; and people who want the county to spend more on forest fire prevention.

Supervisors rejected Korten’s new spending plan when they met on December 14, saying they thought the cut in overall funding for agriculture was too big. However, they do not exclude the possibility of eliminating allocations to agricultural easements. Supervisor Katie Rice said she liked the idea.

Kreiner’s departure is the last episode in a turbulent time for MALT.

Last year, MALT was embroiled in controversy when Ross resident Ken Slayen accused him of using Measure A funds to enrich current and former board members. Slayen filed his charges after his 2015 offer for a conservation easement from the nonprofit was rejected.

In 2019, after the dispute with Slayen began, MALT changed its conflict of interest policy prohibiting board members and their immediate families from selling easements to MALT.

In 2020, Jeff Stump, director of conservation for the nonprofit, and Jamison Watts, director of MALT, resigned.

Marin County attorney Brian Washington and the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission reviewed Slayen’s claims and found no wrongdoing.

Kreiner, a scientist and biotechnology entrepreneur, was hired in March.

“I’m not a traditional candidate because I don’t have experience in land trusts,” Kreiner said at the time.

He added: “The fact that MALT is interested in considering someone who is more of an entrepreneur, innovator and social impact leader is a testament to the direction the board and team would like to see MALT evolve. “

Kreiner said he envisions MALT playing a leading role in making Marin a global model for regenerative local agriculture.

Giacomini said he didn’t know why Kreiner quit. Korten also said he has no idea.

“I barely met Thane,” Korten said. “We definitely talked. He mentioned that they were interested in pursuing a larger set of goals than maybe MALT in the past and looking into more stewardship work and equity focused work. I have certainly heard this in our conversations.

When asked if Kreiner’s abrupt departure would damage MALT’s public image, Giacomini said: “I hope it doesn’t undermine anyone’s confidence. It shouldn’t.

Responding to the news, Mill Valley’s Susan Ives, who called for the elimination of all Measure A funding for agricultural easements, said: “MALT has been the face of Marin’s herding romance for 50 years. year. It seems to have lost its luster.

Amalia H. Mercado