The longtime leader of The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County was forced to resign in February amid undisclosed circumstances. Michael Feeney, a major presence in Santa Barbara’s environmental and conservation circles for decades, stepped down after more than 16 years as the organization’s executive director.
Richard Nagler, president of the Land Trust’s board of trustees, declined to talk about Feeney’s sudden departure and instead issued the following statement by email: “No comment regarding an employees [sic] who left the Land Trust in early February.” Attempts to reach Feeney have not been successful. Carolyn Chandler has been appointed as the Trust’s acting executive director, and a search for a permanent replacement is in its final stages.
Earlier this month, Feeney was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct at the home of a Land Trust employee. At 12:40 p.m. on May 10, deputies responded to a Goleta residence where they cited Feeney, who had been told he wasn’t allowed on the property. Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover called the incident “a domestic situation.” Because Feeney had no prior criminal record, the District Attorney’s Office directed him to the county’s misdemeanor diversion program, which offers classes and counseling as alternatives to prosecution.
[UPDATE, 10/27/15]: Feeney has completed the diversion program, and the DA’s Office chose not to prosecute him for any crime.