The Orange County Power Authority’s controversial CEO Brian Probolsky left the agency at the end of last month, but records show he got nearly four times the severance payout promised in his original contract in exchange not to speak about the agency. 

A copy of his severance agreement released to Voice of OC under the California Public Records Act shows that Probolsky received $450,000, but was only promised six months salary in his contract, which came out to around $120,000. 

To read a copy of the severance agreement, click here

Fullerton Mayor Fred Jung, who chairs the agency’s board of directors, said board members unanimously approved the extra payout to avoid any possibility of future lawsuits. 

“We felt in terms of the power authority and that agency, it was unanimous for all of us that we would want to turn the page, and found that the severance agreement that was signed off on by both parties was sufficient for us to do so,” Jung said in a Wednesday interview. 

The agreement also stops Probolsky from talking about his work at the agency, or publicly disparaging his former employer, which faced repeated criticisms for a lack of transparency under his tenure. 

Since he was hired at the end of 2020, Probolsky faced near constant criticism from environmental advocates, who questioned why he was hired to run a green power agency with no experience in an electric utility. 

Those complaints ultimately rose to a boiling point in April, after the agency failed four audits from the county government and state auditors that found a systemic lack of transparency and failure to properly oversee multiple contracts that Probolsky approved. 

[Read: Orange County Power Authority Fires Controversial CEO After Two Years of Unrest]

According to the severance agreement, just over $160,000 of Probolsky’s severance covered six months salary, which he was guaranteed in his original contract, along with a year of insurance coverage and unused vacation time.

But it’s unclear exactly why he received an additional $288,000 worth of severance pay. 

In the severance agreement, $116,000 was credited to an “additional cash consideration,” and over $161,000 was listed as payment for “non-wage compensation and consideration for the claims.”

To review Probolsky’s original contract, click here

One of those claims included barring Probolsky from saying anything negative about the agency. 

“Both Executive and OCPA agree that they shall not make, directly or indirectly … derogatory or disparaging oral, written, and/or electronic statements about the other relating to OCPA’s products, services and business policies,” the agreement states. 

Probolsky also agreed to drop any claims against the power authority, meaning his whistleblower complaint filed last June alleging the agency’s original board wrongfully attempted to appoint former Huntington Beach City Councilman Mike Posey to a job at the agency will be thrown out. 

[Read: Chaos Grips OC’s Green Power Agency, CEO Under Fire, Files Whistleblower Complaint]

While an internal investigation into his complaint was completed, it hasn’t been publicly released.

Jung said while the agreement is more than what Probolsky was originally promised, it’ll guarantee the agency avoids a years-long legal battle with expensive attorney fees. 

“There is no possibility of future litigation, so that indeed we have separated cleanly and the agency is now afforded an opportunity to move on,” Jung said. 

Moving forward, Jung said he’s hoping to continue expanding the public’s access at the agency, pointing out that the agency has already implemented nearly every point of their improvement plan that was approved after the audits. 

“We have to show that there’s value in this agency,” Jung said. “Not only through community benefits and lower rates, but also for responsible environmental consciousness.” 

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @NBiesiada.


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