Termination of Oceano’s general manager on Tuesday’s agenda

May 27, 2011

By KAREN VELIE

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.


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critizencane

You can control the finances by controlling the spending. Wow! Light bulb moment.

Yes, if there is not money available to roof this year you only get a repair. Sorry Wallace we can’t afford your doubled fee for this year either!

Put your hip boots on people (Board) and put a budget together based on numbers, what you can pay not hope to pay.


MaryMalone

In reading the article, “Can Oceano Make Employees Payroll?,” this caught my eye:


““It is to early too tell if we can make payroll in August,” said Raffaele Montemurro, the district’s general manager. “We have to see when the water rate increases go into effect, how much we will collect.”…


In light of the $THOUSANDS in extra payroll Montemurro has slathered on himself and his toady employees, I would BET it might be a tad more difficult to meet employee payroll in the future.


I mean, who knows how much Montemurro will be making by the end of July? At the rate he has been increasing his own salary, it should be about–what?–$8000 by July 31?


Just my guess here: I believe he knows he’s on the way out and so is trying to loot OCSD’s meager coffers before he goes, with his thinking being the Board, when they terminate his contract, won’t file suit to get the loot back.


I also think this is not his first time around the buoy with this little scam he’s pulling now.


Isn’t he a contract employee? The CSD’s with which I am acquainted stipulate that pay increases for the GM must be approved by the Board. It sounds like these pay increases were not authorized.


The Board should be ready to, if they terminate his contract, have someone take his key to the office from him, and have someone escort him to his vehicle, with instructions not to return. Otherwise, they may never be able to straighten out the mess he will leave behind.


MaryMalone

P.S. Here’s another quote from the same article that caught my eye:


“If terminated on Tuesday, Montemurro is contracted to receive three months salary.”


I think he probably took his sick time because, if he gave himself unauthorized funds for whatever reason, the Board might have it together enough to just impound his accrued sick pay.


But, surely, he will have taken enough unauthorized funds that the three months salary upon termination would be a moot point.


critizencane

Montemurro can write himself any check he wants but it ain’t no good without a Board signature on it. So where is the Board’s responsibilty in looking at the numbers too?!!!

He needs to go. All he’s done here is spend money and spending money does not balance any budget I know of. Montemurro says “I can’t take responsibility for what I have no control of,” He was hired to get control of it and he amitts he can’t do the job. Let’s terminate him and move forward.


MaryMalone

QUOTING CRITIZINECANE: “He needs to go. All he’s done here is spend money and spending money does not balance any budget I know of.”


——–


Don’t forget “pink t-shirt Fridays.”


Typoqueen

I hope Tuesday’s meeting is televised and I can’t wait to watch last Wednesday’s meeting,, that’s good TV. I can’t believe this has taken this long. After the first month it was obvious that Monte was is thug. Watching the way they appointed the two new board members was a joke, it was just too funny to believe.


Sorry to anyone that lives in Oceano. I don’t mean to make fun of your OCSD board and staff, it’s just so easy. It really is amazing and funny but I do realize that it’s not funny if you live there and have to deal with those people. So apologies for any jokes about your board/staff in advance. I must say that I see hope with Felma, I hope she’s the change that gets them moving in the right direction.


MaryMalone

Well, as an AG resident, and user of the SSLOCSD, I can see the outrageous absurdity–to the point of “you-have-to-be-fracking-KIDDING-ME! type of hilarity–even while also knowing that it is the ratepayers who have picked up the check for the culture of deliberate negligent cronyism under John Wallace’s rein of self-serving management.


Looking at potential fines of $30million–oh, it makes me want, like the dickens, to get involved in a class-action suit against Wallace, his company, and the WWT facility’s board members who have facilitated Wallace’s fleecing of rate-payers like me.


But, since I’m already involved in a legal matter against another local government entity, my dance card is all filled up, so to speak.


Has a class-action suit ever been considered for SSLOCSD?


Typoqueen

Perhaps that’s the next step. I’m sure that there will upcoming litigation. I finely got to watch the meeting and Wallace was supposed to speak on the current issues but to me he just sounded as if he were giving another one of his long boring reports. I need to watch it again, when Wallace speaks I have a tendency to only hear bla bla bla bla. He doesn’t directly answer anything. But it was fun watching Giselle (sp?) get up and address the Wallace agenda item. What a character, there are no words to describe her. She’s kooky and ofter strays away from the real issue at hand but for some reason I like her, she adds to the color of Oceano.


MaryMalone

What channel broadcasts the meetings?


Typoqueen

21


ApathyWillKillYou

The Trib article on Montemurro stated that he said “He would not sue” if terminated.


However I wonder if the rate payers in Oceano can sue him for gross incompetence that will cost a fortune to straighten out the mess he has created!


Disgusted

I remember in the CCN article on past mismanagement, it stated that Montemurro WOULD sue if terminated. I’m hoping he found out since then that he would be foolish to do so or just changed his mind.


ajdury

“. . . During a five and a half hour ruckus [sic] meeting . . . ”


Please tell me the writer knows the correct word is ‘raucous’ because this looks like more than a simple typo.


“. . . During the by-weekly [sic] payroll period . . . ”


It’s bi-weekly, by the bye.


I do hope the General Manager is shown the door, based on his actions.


MaryMalone

AJ, a more gracious approach would be to send Karen a nice email, thanking her for her hard work in bringing to print issues that other, larger, local publications do not.


At the same time, you could mention the two oversights.


Just sayin….


ajdury

“. . . During a five and a half hour ruckus [sic] meeting . . . ”


Please tell me the writer knows the correct word is ‘raucous’ because this looks like more than a simple typo.


willie

When Jimmy Carter was president (whether good or not) he was attack for wanting to “modify” the US Constitution because it has already been “morph” to what its original intentions were acording to Carter and severely misuse by special interest.

Since the 60’s LE and military has always had big budgets (the soldiers of the elites)

In 2000, 1 out of every 50 people in California was in prison, parole, jail, or probation and 1 out of 100 nationwide

The selection and training is underlying this resultant.

More legislation and taxation continued to fund their interest.

No system is perfect or fool proof, they are all just temporary solutions.

But obsolute legislation and regulations, especially tariffs remains in the books non-stop.

I praise Regan’s task force for having removed a lot of BS off the books, an incomplete and ongoing job.

To be in power, you have to consider votes (especially the demographics and how to empress them by looks or talk)

But the SOS replays itself with very few exceptions.

And I don’t feel sorry for Montemurro (He’s not an exception), he’ll have to live high on someone else’s tab, starting with EDD


SewerHeightsRez

Many people go through life presiding over one utter failure after another and accepting responsibility for nothing. It’s always the fault of others, or motivations were pure, or maximum effort was rendered, etc. etc. etc. The beautiful thing about excuses is that there is always a bottomless bucket of them nice and handy close by.


The good news is that this type is easy to spot a mile away. The bad news is that they are all too often allowed to cause maximum destruction before sent down the road.


cathy

Well said and describes him to a tee. Always a reason why it is someone elses fault and he is blameless. The people have practically begged the board to admit their misstake and let him go before things got worse. Yet they rewarded him with a big raise. He simply does not tell the truth or goes into his well the answer is yes and no routine. When the district is facing not making payroll you put a freeze on step increases and in fact some employees of companies have taken pay decreases. Elizabeth Rae said it exactly. Why do we have three employees plus him to handle 2100 water bills. He has still never given the board job descriptions for the office staff. He was specifically asked to do this when it was questioned why he brought in someone who used to work for him at $10,000 a year more than the other two. He has been directed by the board on dozens of tasks that never get done. THEN hire contractors for $100 plus an hour to do the accounting. The residents are paying for someone’s health care, salary and retirement and they can’t get the job done. He claims no fault it is the boards fault for not selling the people’s water rights to cover mismanagement of money. People need to ask the hard questions. Such as who brought him to the district for this job?


A mistake was made. Can’t we just admit it, correct it by using the at will clause and move on?


willie

Board members are correct, the budget has to be based on real numbers, not on Montemurro’s possibilities and BS, just so he can become a City Manager!.


This is the first case I seen where a political official got nailed for political camelflaged AKA kicking the can down the road.


As for Montemurro’s complaints, and defence, he just did the same thing as all the rest of these BS politicians did but did the same things at a very bad time (The second worst recession in history)!