Oceano board members quit

March 29, 2011

Jim Hill

Two members of the Oceano Community Services District board have resigned, citing disagreements with district manager Raffaele Montemurro over his accounting practices and failure to follow the board’s direction.

Board members Jim Hill and Carole Henson tendered their resignations on Monday.

In board president Hill’s resignation, he cites 18 examples where Montemurro has failed to follow board instruction. Both Hill and Henson voiced frustration at Montemurro’s refusal to have the district’s financial audit performed by two outside firms as instructed by the board.

“What happened to the $12 million that he can’t find?” Henson asked. “He lies to everybody. He runs the show and won’t do as directed.”

In early January, the board instructed Montemurro to have a draft audit available to the board by March 23—a task Hill said the district’s manager refused to complete.

“Montemurro hasn’t taken anything to the auditor,” Hill said. “He says we are almost there. We have been almost there for nine months of excuses and lies.”

In addition, Hill suspects Montemurro has been comingling property tax funds and sewer and water fees because of materials he has provided the board which refer to pooled funds.

Henson contends board members are left in the dark because Montemurro has refused to allow them to examine the books.

“He says the crooks are gone. Trust me,” Henson said. “The general manager is supposed to work for the board of directors.”

The three remaining board members, Lori Angello, Matthew Guerrero, and Mary Lucey, have 60 days to appoint two new board members or hold a special election.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

It’s people like this, that give a great little community a bad rep! THEY ALL NEED TO GO! Let’s get some new people in there! No more twenty year terms, and that includes family members!!!!!

The REAL problem with all the PROBLEMS in our local government, mostly revealed by CalCoast News, is not that the PEOPLE don’t CARE.

The REAL problems is that the people don’t KNOW!

The TRIB and KSBY consistently fail to carry these type of stories and when they do they spin it to their own agenda.

The old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” but in our county “the politicians get the grease”!

In other words not near enough people know whatmass level of corruption is going on in this county thus NOTHING will ever be done about it!

Let’s put our heads together and figure out a way!

I think if all the bloggers on this site got together in person we could collectively come up with some ways to change our frustration into real action!

The OCSD accounting is in such shambles, with so many records lacking, with so many abuses of proper accounting practices, that no one has been willing state definitively where all the money has gone. But it doesn’t look good, to say the least.

That is why there needs to be an outside investigation.

People say, “Show me the documentation!”

Well, that’s the problem: lack of complete documentation covering YEARS of OCSD operation.

To piece this together requires considerable accounting research at this time to fill in the missing gaps and ask the questions. This, to some extent, is more than the OCSD can afford to look into. And that’s quite convenient for those who don’t want the pieces put together and the gaps filled and the questions asked.

So HUGE questions remain. MANY huge questions. But there are some people who do have some answers. Unfortunately, so far, those people haven’t come forward voluntarily.

And our news media sucks, so we don’t have help there. Newspaper coverage of Oceano has been woefully lacking, despite there being some juicy stories there. Too juicy, apparently. Too complicated. “No documents equals no story for most reporters these days, reporters who are used to simply taking the government hand-out news releases and re-writing them with a couple feel-good quotes or irrelevant opinions.

HELP! S.O.S.! The entire county watches the insanity of Oceano board meetings on TV but to them it is just entertainment. But it is costing THEM too. The OCSD needs an intervention. HELP! S.O.S.?

Reporters, community organizers, District Attorney, Supervisors, anyone…. is ANYONE listening? Oceano is beautiful but the OCSD is like a melted down nuclear plant, with toxic emanations pouring fourth routinely and no one seems willing to rush in with hoses to cool it down.

We’re dying out here. Won’t somebody please help?

Is there anything I stated in the posting above that is not true? If you think so, please explain. Otherwise we are likely to presume the “dislikes” on this posting simply reflect the passion of those who “dislike” the truth made public.

The reason Hill quit is because he now wants to distance himself from Montemurro because he’s the one who brought Monte in, and apparently has lost control of his boy – since Monte got his contract.

And silly little Henson does whatever Hill tells her – like get on the board, and since she can’t think on her own, she can’t possibly be on the board without Hill – ’cause she really has no mind of her own, couldn’t think straight no matter how straight the line in front of her. It’ll be good to get a break from the blithering idiotic statements she makes like blaming the county for not developing Oceano. WRONG. It’s not up to the county to develop anything. It’s up to the people to develop their own communities, and ask the county for assistance once the community organizers have some sort of idea as to what they want. What Henson’s statement said to Oceano is “you can’t do anything on your own, its up to big brother government to do it for you and they failed you because they don’t think you’re worth it” – talk about passing on nonsensical big-brother defeatist brainwashing!

The problem with OCSD is that no one on that board really knows anything about administrative processes, long term planning and thinking, inclusion of the people affected in the decision-making process – BEFORE spending a dime, etc.. No one. Each one of them thinks they know better than anyone else and really aren’t interested in serving the people of Oceano, but are serving their egos and personal goals. I don’t think anyone has served on the board or worked for the OCSD office who does know proper administrative processes since the inception of OCSD.

Montemurro, on the other hand, does have some previous experience, (see below) which apparently, wasn’t brought to the board’s attention before they voted on his contract. Seems to me the entire OCSD board, and Oceano as a whole, has been too trusting of Hill, who apparently considered himself a “godsend” for Oceano, so much so, that he blew it (in many ways) and didn’t do a background check on Monte, before touting him as the one who was going to straighten out the books for Oceano.

Unfortunately, Hill and his cohorts have been instrumental in causing all kinds of division and discord for the board behind the scenes, like not talking to other board members just because they want the same thing he does – to be regarded as an equal and treated fairly and honestly. Talk about hypocrasy!

Then there’s the new boy on the block, Guerrero, another Hill plant, who thinks the new OCSD rate hike is a ticket for him to play Mr. Politician and start doling out the people’s money to buy himself votes and support by immediately (the meeting after the rate hike went through) proposing spending the rate hike money, not on upgrading pipes, etc, that were supposedly sorely needed as justification for the rate hike, but on OCSD employee benefits. Talk about a slap in the face to all the Oceano residents who have to tighten their belts to pay the rate hikes! So is Oceano stuck with another self-serving, back stabbing, lying hypocrite for the next 4 years?

Oceano’s problem is that it’s been plagued with exactly what’s plaguing all governmental bodies, in every town, every city, every county, every state, and the federal government – corruption of spirit, heart, and mind. Ego ego ego. False pride. Selfishness. Arrogance. Disdain for those who’s money they take. Flat out laziness by some. And gross incompetence.

If the American people really knew what was happening with all the monies that go to all the different governing bodies, the waste, the theft, the fraud, the extortion, there’d be rioting in the streets – and rightly so.

Montemurro’s previous headlines:

12-20-02 Kenosha News Staff

Former county Administration Director Raffaele Montemurro bristled Thursday at recent court filings that characterize him as a rogue administrator who agreed to pay two years of back wages in 2000 without conferring with key officials.


Kenosha News Staff

Kenosha County has taken a new tack in defending itself in an employee lawsuit, saying it was never legally obligated to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars turned over to employees.


    A lawyer for the county has asked a judge to cap the payment of a wage dispute at $7,256 — vs. the more than $100,000 that jailers are seeking. The motion, filed by attorney Ray Pollen late last month, will likely push back the July 22 trial, which is expected to include dueling testimony from County Executive Allan Kehl and Raffaele Montemurro, his disgruntled former adviser.

Nov. 30, 2001

    Raffaele Montemurro, the former county administration director who made headlines through much of the year, announced Thursday he will seek the 5th District County Board seat he vacated in 1998.

Wow, now this is a good post, thanks Willow. Very informative. I must have missed that action by Guerrero, I’m really disappointed. I had hope that he wasn’t as bad as the rest of them but I do believe what you’re saying.

I have to take issue though when comparing what goes on in Oceano to any other city. As far as corruption perhaps but I’m not convinced. I don’t believe that many of them were/are corrupt, they are just in over their heads (incompetent). IMO most not all of them simply don’t know what they’re doing but I’m sure that there are a few of them that have been corrupt, that seems to go with territory. Now Monte on the other hand,, I wouldn’t put corruption past him,,plus he’s incompetent.

Again, good post.

No answer about any missing money only makes one believe that there isn’t any missing money and that the accusation was completely made up. There is NO missing money. It’s so weird to me that someone would just keep saying ‘where’s the missing money’ and yet can’t even explain where they got the idea that there was missing money in the first place.

4th paragraph above article “What happened to the $12 million that he can’t find?” Henson asked.–

Well, I believe that Carole H. was referring to when Monte was trying to blame past employees and perhaps even board members of taking money. I took her statement as sarcasm. That money issue ended up being a bunch of BS. There was no missing money. Monte couldn’t find the money because he is incompetent. The money was required to put in other accounts and that is where it was found. WiseGuy knows enough about the shenanigans in that town that he must know that so I assume that he’s talking about some other missing money??

I dont’ have anything personal against Dave or Lori. But look at it this way. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Oceano Community Service District is a huge mess with plenty of reason to suspect some sort of wrong doing. One of the Angellos has been on the OCSD board for most of the past two decades. So, doesn’t it stand to reason citizens might have legitimate questions for the Angellos? Or that me might questions their competence?

It seems to me that either the Angellos would have some knowledge of any wrong doing, or, if not, then we question whether they have been “asleep at the wheel” and clueless.

These are legitimate concerns and citizens have every reason and plenty of justification for wanting to hold the Angellos responsible for at least some of the problems the OCSD is suffering from because, as members of the board, they are at least partly in charge. That is their job and responsibility when holding that type of position.

So, again, my apologies for any comments of mine that have been misinterpreted or mischaracterized by others.

I’d say there needs to be a thorough investigation so as to clear the air and exonerate all those who need exonerating and convicting all those who need convicting. Isn’t that reasonable in this day and age?

How can you blame the Angello’s for the current problems on the board? Dave has been off the board for nearly 10 years. When he left the District was in good shape. Don’t take my word for it, just check the records. Lori has been on about a year. In the last 10 years you have had directors sue the district and a whole lot of dysfunction that Dave and Lori had nothing to do with. I remember all the hoopla about “new blood’ and getting rid of the good old boys. Look where it got us, ran the district right into the ground. . I will take the good old boys anyday. There is hope now and when two new directors are seated I look forward to positive things happening again in Oceano.

Dave left the board November 2006–not 10 years ago, not even 5 years ago.

I realized later that 10 years was wrong, thanks for the correction. It just seems like such a long time ago. On another note, Typo is right, there is NO MISSING MONEY……

You are welcome…and on another note, I have no dog in this fight. Just reading the story as was written above — and looking for “Just the facts Ma’am, only the facts”

I remember when Montemurro was certain money was missing, involved the DA…..was this just his incompetence? Or is this how he makes himself look good…..well, until the s**t hits the fan, and it seems it has.

“Or is this how he makes himself look good….”