SLO County to review sanitation district books
July 22, 2011
The San Luis Obispo County auditor-controller will evaluate two new employment contracts for engineering and administrative services at the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District as part of a review of the district’s financial records. [TimesPressRecorder]
The review was spurred by a grand jury report that concluded there is a conflict of interest existing between John Wallace, the administrator of the South County wastewater treatment plant, and his engineering firm.
During the 2009/2010 fiscal year, the report says, Wallace and the Wallace Group received $836,000 for administrative and engineering services. At a similar size plant in Paso Robles, those costs ran under $200,000 during the same period.
Jurors recommended that the County auditor review the district’s financial records. In addition, the grand jury asked the district board to consider hiring independent management and that it evaluate and compare organizational and operational alternatives for the district.
The board rejected the suggestion and opted instead to bifurcate Wallace’s contract into two separate documents — a single contract for administrative services and another for engineering work.
Gere Sibbach, county auditor-controller, said his office is planning to begin a review of the district’s records on Aug. 1, which he expects to complete before the end of the year. At that time, Sibbach will send copies to the Sanitation District directors, grand jury and Board of Supervisors.
The district provides sewer services to about 38,000 customers in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and the unincorporated town of Oceano.