Termination of Oceano’s general manager on Tuesday’s agenda
May 27, 2011
While Oceano’s general manager sat with his head hung low wiping sweat from his brow, the district’s board members voted to have a special meeting on May 31 to discuss the discipline, dismissal or release of their community’s general manager.
During a five and a half hour rowdy meeting on Wednesday evening, Oceano Community Services District board members and members of the public ranted about Raffaelle Montemurro’s failure to keep the district solvent and his attempt to defer water payments to San Luis Obispo County.
“There is irony in a water company not being able to pay its water bill,” director Matt Guerrero said.
In his defense, Montemurro blamed the board for not following his advice to sell some of the districts water rights while simultaneously raising water rates.
“I can’t take responsibility for what I have no control of,” Montemurro said.
Several board members fired back telling Montemurro it was his responsibility to have established a budget on actual numbers rather than possibilities.
“You cannot establish a budget on a hope,” said director Felma Hurdle who noted that he was hired to fix the district’s financial inadequacies.
Several members of the public also voiced concerns that Montemurro had given himself and several other staff members increases in pay.
Montemurro said that other than one employee who received a scheduled step raise about 60 to 90 days ago, no one in the district had been given a pay raise.
Nevertheless, the districts financial statements appear to say otherwise. For example, while some employees have not received their scheduled step raises, others, alleged favorites of Montemuro’s, have, according to payroll registers.
During the by-weekly payroll period ending March 18, the district’s net payroll cost was $7,894. By April 29, with the addition of one employee at a two week net cost of $1,255, that number jumped to $11,153, a $3,259 two-week payroll increase, according to district financial records.
Before former directors Jim Hill and Carole Henson tendered their resignations in March, citing disagreements with Montemurro over his accounting practices, Montemurro’s net pay was $2,377 every two weeks.
On April 15, Montemurro printed himself a check for $2,623. Two weeks later, he increased his two-week net pay to $3,111.
As for the latest 80 hour payroll period, for May 12 through May 25, Montemurro is slated to receive a $3,152 net paycheck. According to the payroll register, he is being compensated for 80 hours of work time and 20 hours in sick pay.
If terminated on Tuesday, Montemurro is contracted to receive three months salary.
Tuesday’s special meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. with time allotted for public comment before the board goes into a closed session.