Oceano hires Ogren as new general manager

May 15, 2014
Paavo Ogren

Paavo Ogren

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

In an attempt to boost its agency’s credibility, the Oceano Community Services District board opted to hire San Luis Obispo County Public Works Director Paavo Ogren as the new district general manager and award him a base pay of nearly $200,000 a year.

The CSD board of directors voted 4-1 Wednesday night, with Director Jennifer Blackburn dissenting, to hire Ogren at a base salary of $196,000 a year. Ogren will receive pay for the general manager’s position, as well as for an unfilled and not board-approved accounting position.

Just three years ago, the general manager had a base salary of $87,500, and the accounting position did not exist. The past two Oceano managers received salaries of $126,000 a year.

The district is currently $170,000 over budget.

Blackburn said the board should renegotiate a contract with Ogren that the district could afford.

“Mr. Ogren mentioned he had a heart for the community,” Blackburn said. “I think he may be open to negotiation.”

But, Ogren said he would not negotiate his base salary.

“That would end up putting me in a negative situation from where I am now,” Ogren said.

Ogren instead recommended that the board amend his contract to allow him to receive raises only if he meets or exceeds expectations. The contract, as proposed, would grant him 2.5 percent raises after each of his first two years for merely satisfactory performance.

Twelve members of the public spoke prior to the board hiring Ogren. Nine opposed the hire, while three supported it. Multiple speakers questioned Ogren’s motivation for leaving the county.

Ogren oversees 180 employees in his current position, whereas Oceano has a total of six district workers.

Ogren said the move is about public service.

“There’s a little bit of a heart that goes to working directly with the communities,” he said.

Board President Matt Guerrero said Ogren’s motivations for leaving the county are irrelevant.

“This hire would bring a lot of credibility,” Guerrero said.

Ogren is expected to begin work in Oceano sometime in July.


21 Comments

  1. falconbh says:

    Labor Laws: I’m having some problem understanding this employment process and would appreciate some assistance.

    Problem: How do you take and receive applications for a board approved General Managers position and then without public notice change the position and job description to include accounting position duties and select one person to interview and then approve ? Is this fair or even legal to existing applicants or other possible applicants who may have applied under this new job description and compensation?

    Brown Act: I thought changes had to be made with public notice, agenda, recorded directors vote.

    California Fair Employment and Housing Laws: Prohibts discrimination in all aspects of employment including hiring.

    Labor Law: Accurate Job Description. Accounting Position ?

    Establish A Uniform Screening Process For Applicants: Confirm that decisions were not influenced by improper considerations.

    OCSD Board Policies: General Managers Job Description

    Giving preferential treatment or partiality to any person or group.

    OCSD is an Equal Opportunity Employer

    thank you for your comments and assistance in advance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. falconbh says:

    Eight [8] individuals applied for this position.

    Only one [1} was interviewed.

    Just another documented example of discrimination, equal opportunity employment law violations, and public corruption.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  3. achillesheal says:

    It’s time people realize that all government officials need to be tarred and feathered. They are robbing us blind from local to state to federal level. The obamas dog takes separate vacation flights for crying out loud.

    Politicians pit the people against each other and laugh all the way to the bank. It is time to treat them all as the pariahs that they are. Only when that happens will the entrenched scum leave and reasonable people come back to public jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  4. doggin says:

    I have yet to see or hear any answers to this question. Who else, and how many others were interviewed and considered for this public position? There are numerous successful, effective and willing local agency/city managers or officials better suited for this position then Paavo. How is it one just gets handed a $200,000 a year job?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

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