The Isla Vista Community Services District has expanded its staff and services, hiring three new permanent positions and one temporary one.
Since May 2021, the Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) has hired a community engagement director, an I.V. compost collective program manager and an I.V. community spaces program manager. Currently, the district is looking to hire a temporary I.V. mobility plan outreach coordinator as well.
IVCSD General Manager Jonathan Abboud said that when IVCSD’s goals for the year require an expansion of services that the current staff can’t provide, IVCSD hires new people to come in to aid in their growth.
For example, after hearing complaints that IVCSD was not a visible entity in I.V., IVCSD decided to hire a community engagement director to solve the issue, Abboud said.
“[We heard complaints that] no one knows who the CSD is, it’s not visible enough. And so we said, ‘OK, our goal is to raise our awareness and the way we can do that is by making a dedicated staff person who’s only focused on raising awareness and building community engagement. So we did that.”
Though it has recently been able to expand staff and services, the local community services district didn’t always have the funding and resources for such an undertaking.
While local residents voted to create a community services district in 2016, IVCSD still had no revenue source. The organization remained that way until June 2018, when Measure R-2018 pushed a user utility tax that gave the burgeoning organization the necessary funds to begin operations.
According to Abboud, when IVCSD was originally just a bill in the state assembly, many criticized forming a community services district because much of its funding would be budgeted for its staff.
“People would always criticize, ‘Oh, so much money is gonna be spent on staff.’ But it’s these staff that are actually the ones who are making really cool things happen,” Abboud said.
Abboud described staffing as a “good expense.”
“It’s really giving I.V. a solid team of people who are assigned to I.V.,” Abboud said. “We are now actually able to do things. We have people able to make accomplishments happen. We have a whole team — so, it’s awesome.”
Now, not only has IVCSD taken on several projects — such as improving parking and absorbing the local compost collective — but it has reached the stage where it can expand its staff to provide better services for local residents.
Community Engagement Director
Sydney Casler, the IVCSD community engagement director, is in charge of creating local, diverse and collaborative partnerships within I.V. “to identify and address issues in the community”; engage in communication, marketing and outreach to keep the community aware of IVCSD and its services; lead community engagement efforts; and supervise interns.
As community engagement director, Casler is expected to reach the local audience through social media as well as email lists, according to her job description. Not only does Casler handle press releases, but she also helped launch IVCSD’s new newsletter informing the public about the latest happenings with IVCSD.
Isla Vista Compost Collective Manager
Carly Marto, IVCSD’s compost collective program manager, oversees the compost collective program as a whole — which serves 96 households and has been in operation since 2017.
As the compost collective’s manager, Marto is responsible for supervising all compost collective employees, leading weekly team meetings for the compost collective, maintaining the collective’s inventory and budget, working with local food- and environmental justice-based organizations for potential partnerships and overseeing the Estero Compost Pile.
Marto supervises with dirt riders, who collect compost locally, and works closely with the general manager to apply for grants, planning for the expansion and improvement of the compost collective program.
According to Abboud, Marto already created three new compost piles for I.V.
Isla Vista Community Spaces Program Manager
Myah Mashhadialireza, the IVCSD’s community spaces program manager, oversees all things related to the Isla Vista Community Center and Isla Vista Community Room.
Her job is to find local partners and service providers to run programs out of the I.V. Community Center, develop and manage a new reservation system, identify facility improvements, develop policies and procedures required to run community programs and identify and track all costs associated with the I.V. Community Center and I.V. Community Room.
A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the Feb. 3, 2022, print edition of the Daily Nexus.