Dennis A. Erdman, the general manager of the Capistrano Beach County Water District, was fired by the district's board of directors Tuesday night.
Director Jim Hayton said Erdman "does not represent the best interests of the district."
"I was put (on the board) because people wanted change," said Hayton, who was elected last November. Removing Erdman, who has been a general manager for only eight months but who acted as an assistant general manager before that, was the first step in bringing about that change, Hayton said.
Board member Ross Carpenter said he voted to remove Erdman because of the district's financial problems.
"The district is running in the red," Carpenter said. "Money is running out like a sieve . . . and I want to stop it."
Erdman charged that he was a victim of local politics and that his membership in a local activist group called Dana Point United prompted the firing.
The board vote was 3-2, with directors Addison DeBoi and Kenny Lawrence Sr. casting the dissenting votes. Director Bonnie Streeter voted to fire Erdman.
The dismissal is effective at the end of this month.
The district provides water to residential and commercial customers in southern Dana Point, Dana Point Harbor and a small area of northern San Clemente.