Guadalupe mayor seeking grand jury investigation
August 15, 2014
Guadalupe mayor Frances Romero announced plans Tuesday to ask the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury to investigate the city’s past financial mismanagement and accounting practices.
“As a citizen of Guadalupe that is also its mayor, and in an effort to have a clean slate for those that come behind this council, and to clear the air for those who have served on the council previously, I would like to publicly request that the grand jury do an investigation into the things that have occurred here over the last 10 to 15 years,” Romero said during this weeks city council meeting.
Shortly after former San Luis Obispo City Councilman Andrew Carter accepted the Guadalupe city administrator position, he discovered that previous city officials had been using illegal accounting tactics to cover up deficits in the city’s general fund. Specifically, moneys paid for utilities such as sewer and water were being diverted to pay for expenses such as salaries for police and fire.
Carter discovered the Northern Santa Barbara County town of about 7,000 residents has an ongoing deficit of about $725,000 a year. Even if city residence vote for three tax measures in November, he estimates a $335,000 deficit for this fiscal year.
Nevertheless, Councilman John Lizalde and Councilman John Sabedra said Tuesday they were not in favor of asking the grand jury to investigate noting the time it would take staff to cooperate.