DA investigating Oceano CSD

September 23, 2010


The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office is investigating the auditing and accounting practices of the Oceano Community Service District.

“It has come to my attention that the District Attorney is concerned with some auditing and accounting practices here,” said Oceano CSD General Manager Raffaele Montemurro at last nights board meeting. “We have brought the District Attorney numerous things already. Now they have asked for how much money was billed by the district, collected and deposited.

“But here, because things have been done so poorly, it is not as easy as you would think. Everyone who committed the sins are now gone.”

The district’s accounting practices came under fire last month when  Montemurro discovered five bank accounts containing more than $367,000 in district money that were not noted in yearly audits. The CSD then hired certified public accountants Glen, Burdette, Philips and Bryson to evaluate the district’s charges and expenses.

The accountants discovered numerous questionable practices including the district’s former management using CSD credit cards to purchase lunches at local restaurants and then charging the expenses as either the purchase of office supplies, travel expenses or as classes and seminars.

During a board meeting on Aug. 11, the board voted to ask the District Attorney’s office and the California Attorney General’s office to further investigate the districts financial dealings.

Former administrative assistant Gina Davis worked for the district for almost three decades and was the only signer on at least three of the uncovered bank accounts.

“The problem is that in the past the district had one person who did everything, one person with unusual control,” said Montemurro, who began working with the district in Oct. 2009. “They had very poor practices.

“There was no safe to put the money in it was just put in a drawer.”

On Wednesday, board members discussed a possible timeline for getting accounting work together for the district attorney’s office but decided they would have to check with the availability of auditors before selecting a date.

The Oceano CSD serves the 7,600 residents and business owners in the unincorporated communities of Oceano and Halcyon with fire protection, sewer and water services.

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In my opinion, this is a classic example of why CSD’s should be eliminated…Most of these are very small Communities with little or no infrastructure & they simply CANNOT AFFORD a CSD. Consider the number of employees each CSD has, with their salaries & benefits really make it UNAFFORDABLE for these small Communities. They typically are very incompetantly run, as well with many opportunities for corruption. Look what’s happened & is taking place in Los Osos! That is one Community that certainly CANNOT AFFORD a CSD & would be better served to turn everything back over to the County. It would be cheaper in the long run.

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