Arroyo Grande mayor criticizes grand jury report
June 19, 2011
Tony Ferrara, one of three members of the district governing board, made the comments at the Wednesday night board meeting.
The report, issued June 2, following extensive reporting by CalCoastNews, concluded there is a conflict of interest existing between John Wallace, the administrator of the South County wastewater treatment plant, and his engineering firm.
The grand jury also found that the district’s board of directors failed to recognize or eliminate the issue, and that Wallace’s contract is 25 years old and has never been evaluated, re-bid or modified.
“The reason it’s been there for 25 years is because it works,” Ferrara said. “It keeps our rates low.”
Ferrara also said the report was based on incomplete information. “You don’t make those kinds of accusations of someone unless you have hard and fast evidence to back it up, and they didn’t have that kind of evidence.”
However, Lori Angello, one of the three board members and president of the Oceano Community Services District, suggested at the meeting that Wallace should continue providing engineering or administration services — but not both.
“It might be wise to separate the two,” she said.