Oceano CSD emergency meeting for Sunday
April 3, 2011
UPDATE: Amid concerns that appointing two board members would result in a quorum not elected by the people, the Oceano Community Service District board voted 3-0 to appoint two directors by June 2.
The vote came after the public voiced concerns over the cost of a special election and questions about district staff being unprepared for the special meeting.
District legal counsel Molly Thurmond said the district could hold a special election, appoint directors or hold an advisory election where they could hear the voices of the people without the cost of a special election. Thurmond then noted she knew very little about advisory elections.
During public comment, Julie Tacker chastised staff for calling a meeting on a Sunday without being prepared.
“If you are going to discuss an advisory vote you should know something about it,” Tacker said. “To make informed decisions on a Sunday night you should have the information in front of you.”
ORIGINAL: In response to the resignation of two Oceano Community Service District board directors, district officials have scheduled an emergency meeting for Sunday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m.
On March 29, former directors Jim Hill and Carole Henson tendered their resignations, citing disagreements with district manager Raffaele Montemurro over his accounting practices and failure to follow the board’s direction.
During the emergency meeting, the three remaining directors will determine who will cover committee assignments, most of which were covered by board president Hill and director Henson, and how their empty seats will be filled.
At a March 23 board meeting, district legal counsel Molly Thurmond nixed an agenda item set to evaluate Montemurro because she believed performance evaluations are to be held in closed session even though Montemurro said he desired an open session evaluation.
However, the Brown Act allows performance evaluations to be heard in closed session, “unless the employee requests a public session.”
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.
“I would prefer to have the public elect a new board member,” said Guerrero noting that if the board appoints to new members that would leave only two elected directors on the five member board.
At this time Lori Angelo and Mary Lucey are the only elected director on the board. Guerrero was appointed after former director Vern Dahl resigned.
In February 2010, after Barbara Mann resigned from the board, Lori Angello was appointed by a vote of 2-1 with one director abstaining.
Shortly afterwards, director Pamela Dean said the board violated its own rules of order by appointing Angello with only two votes. In addition the vote violated Government Code Section 61045, which says, “a majority of the total membership of the board of directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.”
After Angello refused to step down, Dean filed a civil lawsuit against the Oceano Community Service District and Angello for the illegal appointment.
On March 17, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall ruled that Angello’s appointment was not legal, but by that time the issue was moot, Angello, who ran unopposed, won a seat in the November election.
Even so, Crandall said Dean has the right to go after the district and Angello for legal fees.
Meanwhile, the district is slated to discuss Montemurro’s performance during an April 13 board meeting.