Recently fired manager running for Oceano board
July 22, 2014
Update: Curtis responded Tuesday morning to a CalCoastNews email asking for an explanation of his decision. The story previously said that Curtis did not respond.
Four months after losing his job as the general manager of the Oceano Community Services Distirct, Lonnie Curtis is vying to make a return to the agency that ousted him.
Curtis is running for a seat on the Oceano CSD Board of Directors, the very group that fired him earlier this year. When asked what prompted him to run, Curtis responded with a brief email explanation.
“Leadership. Long range resources planning,” Curtis wrote.
Curtis’s name is already on the November ballot, according to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-recorder’s website.
On March 14, the Oceano board voted unanimously to terminate Curtis with cause. The board did so just five months after hiring him to lead the district.
After the March 14 meeting, Curtis blamed his firing on district critic Julie Tacker and flipped her off as he drove away.
During Curtis’s brief tenure, Tacker submitted multiple public record requests, which the general manager ignored or delayed responding to. Board members then had to instruct Curtis to follow the Public Records Act, as well as the California Brown Act.
One of the record requests ultimately a PowerPoint presentation, much of which was plagiarized, that Curtis used as a writing sample when he applied for the general manager job.
Prior to firing him, the Oceano board reviewed Curtis’s performance four times in closed session meetings. On one occasion, the board reviewed his performance three times in a six-week span.
Curtis’s firing marked the third consecutive general manager tenure in Oceano to end with a termination.
As general manager, Curtis was making a base salary of $126,000. The board since hired then-county public works director Paavo Ogren to head the district at a base salary of $196,000.
Despite awarding the lofty contract, the board had operated the district in the red in recent months.
The seats occupied by board members Lori Angello, Karen White and Jennifer Blackburn are up for election in November. Each of the three incumbents are expected to run for reelection.