Oceano’s financial records manipulated?

June 8, 2011


Oceano’s former general manager asked the company he purchased a controversial new computer system from to input unconfirmed accounting data leaving the district unable to come up with accurate financial information.

After years of financial mismanagement, Oceano Community Services District facing insolvency, is behind almost three years on audits and has seen three temporary interim general managers leave within two weeks.

Oceano’s former general manager, Raffaele Montemurro, said he was unable to get passwords for the district’s old computer system, so he somehow arrived at numbers that he gave to the company that he purchased a more than $200,000 computer system from. It was these numbers that were inputted into the new system.

Typically, Tyler Technologies takes financial data from an agency’s old computer system and inputs it into the new system, said  Elven Corder, Tyler Technologies vice president of implementation.

In this instance, however, after much debate, Tyler Technologies agreed to input unverified data into the new computer as long as Montemurro and the former president of the Oceano board, Jim Hill, would agree to sign a contract which would hold Tyler Technologies harmless from any damages that might occur.

However, Montemurro never asked Hill to sign the agreement, dated January 26, which appears to have been signed by Lori Angelo, then district board vice president. It was not until CalCoastNews called board members to ask about the agreement that they became aware of its existence.

“He needed to take the data from the old system, but he wouldn’t do it,” Hill said. “Apparently he decided to just put in numbers which is stunning.

“I was starting to smell a rat,” added Hill, who stepped down from the board in March claiming Montemurro refused to follow instructions.

Angelo told CalCoastNews she does not remember signing the agreement. Even so, according to district policy and the Brown Act, board members are required to inform the entire board of actions they take on behalf of the district.

“If that is her legitimate signature, it is appalling,” Hill said. “Anything like this would need to be a board decision and the board would have brought Montemurro up on charges for suggesting it.”

The document said that Tyler Technologies agreed “to convert general ledger, accounts payable and payroll data for which you are not able to provide any documentation that can be used to verify individual general ledger account balances, vendor balances, accounts payable balances or employee pay history.”

“Tyler Technologies further cautions that the data should not be represented to any reporting authority as audited financial information nor should it be submitted to any auditing authority, as it has not been subject to any authenticating procedures,” the agreement says.

Oceano’s board terminated Montemurro two weeks ago. He was let go following a CalCoastNews exclusive that showed Montemurro’s net pay appeared to have increased above his contracted amount, according to district records.

Montemurro appeared to have been overpaying himself for more than a month. Shortly after the CalCoastNews exclusive, he changed the amount of his last paycheck back to his contracted pay, according to district records.

During the past two weeks, three interim general managers have quit the district. The first quit after a day claiming to have health related issues.

The second, procured through a temp agency, declined shortly before they were scheduled to begin. The third lasted a few hours and left noting that numerous district documents were missing.

(edit:6/9/2011 added documents)

Tyler Letter

Payroll Reg

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…and why is there no warrant for arrest? Where are the charges? Hello, D.A.? You need this case to come slap you in your face before you see it? Amazing.

Apparently the DA needs to be implicated in the scandal before they will move.


Yeah, but if the costs keep racking up, you might not be able to afford your CAPS LOCK key anymore… just sayin…

SNAP. Too funny! + ‘ed.

It sounds like Jim Hill is trying to put blame anywhere but on himself. Had he not gone along with the no bid computer, the illegal appointment process and who knows what else, as well as concentrating on bullying Dahl with his “loser” and other childish gestures and speech, perhaps he might have been helpful in averting this mess. He srved the longest, I believe, and then bailed when the going got tough. I hope his “public servant” days are over.

How did you reach that conclusion?

QUOTING FROM THE ARTICLE: “However, Montemurro never asked Hill to sign the agreement dated January 26, which appears to have been signed by Lori Angelo, then district board vice president. It was not until CalCoastNews called board members to ask about the agreement that they became aware of its existence.”


Hill wasn’t even asked to sign the agreement, and it was signed by Angelo.

In fact, Hill tries to give Angelo at least a temporary reprieve from accusations over her signing the document:

QUOTING FROM THE ARTICLE: ” ‘If that is her legitimate signature, it is appalling,” Hill said. “Anything like this would need to be a board decision and the board would have brought Montemurro up on charges for suggesting it.’ ”


Look, it’s clear Hill ain’t the Baby Jesus here, but no one deserves to be falsely accused of something they didn’t do.

“Look, it’s clear Hill ain’t the Baby Jesus here, but no one deserves to be falsely accused of something they didn’t do.”

And it’s what he didn’t do that leads to the kind of mess in which the district finds itself. He didn’t demand competitive bids for a new computer, he didn’t try to right the wrong discovered in the appointment process, he didn’t wait for Montemurro to fulfill his contract obligations before approving a raise for him and he spent more time in petty arguments with fellow board members than he did trying to solve problems. Then he quit in the midst of the mess he helped create.

My, Hill is so powerful he can accomplish all of these things by himself? Hill has unilateral power to give a GM a pay increase? Hill got into “petty arguments” with himself?

As I said, Hill ain’t the Baby Jesus, but he’s not responsible for all that happened there.

Angelo unilaterally signed the get-out-of-jail-free agreement absolving which places all the blame for anything that results from Montemurro’s magical numbers. She didn’t tell the Board when she did it. She can claim she “doesn’t remember” doing it now, but surely she remembered doing it long enough to report it at the next board meeting.

As far as Hill quitting, something about which you’ve complained since he quit, I still do not understand why you put the burden of “cleaning up the mess he helped create” when others have resigned since “the mess” began.

If you’ll read my message, it doesn’t state that Hill acted alone. But, if you’ve been watching the meetings under his leadership, I need say no more. If not, go on your merry way defending Jim Hill. As for others resigning, you can partially thank Hill for that with his childish, mean actions toward them. On one thing you’re right, he ain’t no Baby Jesus, not by a long shot.

I’m not defending anyone. I’m pointing out that, when there are five members on a board that vote on a matter, and a poster blames only one for the decision five members made, that the thinking going on is not logical.

And I thought things were going to get boring around here now that Monte is gone!

Silly me!

How fascinating. I would love to address their bogus accounting system, produce some reality based, auditable financial statements and implement some viable internal controls and procedural “checks and balances”, which will prevent this from happening again.

It would be interesting to analyze the discrepancies between the data Monty manufactured and the findings produced through a forensic internal compilation. I can understand why interim City Managers are currently running for the hills. Accounting isn’t exactly what a GM does but at the same time, they can’t perform without an accurate financial overview, cash flow and budget. How funny that three have quit in the last 2 weeks, that really is funny, no money, no viable general ledger and a disgruntled and fractured board!

I think I’ll give them a call and offer my temporary services, this is the sort of stuff that I love to do and I’m bored to death lately with routine production. Nothing like sending them a note ahead of time, huh?

QUOTING CINDY: “I can understand why interim City Managers are currently running for the hills.”



I just got an image of Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” singing…

“The HILLS are alive with the sound of the pitter patter of interim general managers running for their lives….”

As long as three people exist on the planet, there will always be the potential for conspiracy, and conspiracies can be pretty darned interesting at times.

Jim hill wanted the new computer billing system. Jim hill is the reason why OCSD bought the new 200k system. Without Jim Hill they would still have the old system. Thanks Jim.

A computer system is not inherently evil or wrong. It is what humans enter into it (and remove from it) that produces the problems.

Montemurro is the one who said he could not get the passwords and came up with magical numbers which became the baseline by which future numbers were derived.

There’s nothing wrong with a board member advocating for improvements. There is something wrong with Montemurro’s actions at OCSD.

Again, Hill ain’t the Baby Jesus in this scene, but he’s not responsible for bad data given by Montemurro to the computer consultants.

Yes, and this is not a good thing. New systems should only be implemented when you are not behind on your accounting.

Old or new system. money went away like the rabbit in a hat. number’s were there that no one wanted reconciled. Audit’s fell further an further behind. Now their pulling bogus numbers out of the hat . Nobody’s willing to follow that laughing cat down the rabbit hole .

All of us get the kind of government that we deserve. Just saying that hurts when you look at the various communities in SLO county with problems.

These small communities with somewhat complex drainage and wastewater issues should not be run by citizen advisory boards or service districts. No matter how well they intentioned they may be, they do not have the background or expertise to make prudent decisions.

I say, head off to LAFCO, disband these CSD’s and let SLO Public Works handle things. I know our current board is all about “letting the stakeholders weigh in” and all of that touchy feely crap. The reality is, poor decisions get made, or worse yet carpetbaggers show up to game the system and in the end the county tax payers wind up on the hook to pay to fix everything,….if it can be fixed.

When we will demand that our leaders be just that, leaders. None of our current Board of Supervisors is a leader, and I mean all 5 of them. They are pontificators that love the sound of their own voices as they vote to postpone, re-agendize and spend the first hour of each weeks meeting pating staff on the butt for their years of dedication. If you don’t believe me, just check any meeting

in the board’s archives.

They are pontificators that love the sound of their own voices as they vote to postpone, re-agendize and spend the first hour of each weeks meeting pating staff on the butt for their years of dedication.

For a minute there, I thought you were describing Washington D.C. politics. Seems to me, it is the eloquent pontificators that get elected because the media and the brain-dead are so easily swayed by someone who can read a prepared speech well. Ooo. Aaah. “Yeah, vote for that guy, he *sounds* like a leader” (never mind there isn’t an iota of leadership evidence in his past).

The bright side is, maybe – just maybe – people will not fall for the two minute sound-bite and glossy mailers and actually learn about who the heck they are giving their tax dollars to.

“All of us get the kind of government that we deserve.”

This is something often said, but I do not agree with it, and this is why.

1. It shifts the blames for what politicians–who have all the power–do, often behind closed doors, to the citizens.

Citizens are not responsible for the bad the government does against them. In reality, we have very few tools to stop them. The only one we have, really, is voting them out of office, and even that is retroactive. They have much time to do bad before they are voted otu.

And that’s IF they are voted out. Above the local level, voters are so brainwashed into voting for whatever piece of crap the DNC or RNC wants to put on the ballot, they vote for anything that has the appropriate letter, (D) or (R) in front of it.

2. Even with due diligence by voters, and ninja political activism, elected politicians will commit fraud and make decisions that harm the people they govern.

Two more glaring examples cannot be seen, IMO, than the GWBush and Obama administrations. Those who elected GWBush thought they knew what they were getting, based on what they had seen and heard (and, some, on the research they did), but what GWBush delivered was very different than what he promised.

The same can be said for Obama. I know many political activists that did research like crazy on Obama, and came away, acknowledging there was not a lot of information, but from what was available, he sounded like he would do mostly what he promised. What Obama has delivered is also very different than what he promised.

In both cases, so much political activism resources were expended to try to change the course of what these two presidents seem determined to deliver, with almost ZERO impact.

How does the average Oceano resident have the resources to do the kind of research that activists do?

How does the average Oceano resident have the resources to do the kind of research that activists do?

Simple: change education.

OK, simple answer, but complicated implementation. The loss of critical thinking, history, and honesty/integrity are showing the tolls they take on our society. It will take at least two generations to clean up the mess we’re in from the baby-boomers generation on.

As Graham Nash wrote we need to “teach your children well / their fathers hell / will slowly go by…”

Understood, education is needed. Critical thinkers are few and hard to come by these days.

But I was talking about “we get the government we deserve” as more of a current deal, as in the Oceano situation.

How were the residents of Oceano supposed to “deserve” the harm the various incarnations of the OCSD have caused them?

By a majority vote, one would hope.

With all that I’ve read in this article and previous articles; looks like it might be time for information to be presented to the Grand Jury. Monte should not be allowed to ruin Oceano and benefit financially from

his wrongdoing.

Thank you CCSN for keeping the public updated.

“…and has seen three interim general managers leave within two weeks.”

You mean two years? And even then that is not correct. Patrick O’ Reilly was a full time GM, as was Montemurro, only Kevin Walsh was a interim in the last two years. Cindy Winters doesn’t count, as her term lasted one day.

Oceano’s former general manager asked the company he purchased a controversial new computer system …”

It wasn’t controversial at the time. Hill, Angello & Lucey did not hesitate to vote yes, even when Dahl and Dean voted no and raised concerns about not following the law because it was not bid out.

Obviously Jim Hill has been feeding information to Karen Velie. Unfortunately, he is not giving her the full truth, and is covering his tracks while blaming others who were at the time taking orders only from him.

Angello doesn’t remember signing? Give me a break! Just one more illegal action by Lori.

Now the criminals have the keys to the district, literally. Angello & Searcy as board members are opening the district office? All that restricted information right at their fingertips. Oceano residents should be very afraid.

Alma leaving is great news. She was way overpaid and had trouble performing her job.

Alma had no trouble performing her job. She did payroll and the Dear added sick pay on top of regular pay. got paid for four weeks vacation time instead of the two coming to her.Took three more wks. leave and was pd. for that too.Regular pay an sick pay.She knew what she was doing. Following her boss’s instructions’an getting roses at her desk from the boss for doing such a good job.

:) True. What she had trouble doing was properly categorizing the legitimate bills.

bunch of bums, either crooks or idiots…

hotdog hit a home run on all three possibility’s. When the alarm bell’s were ringing. monty’s ongoing failure’s to perform, withholding information from the board an it seem’s suborning other Directors. Getting togeather a special meeting to address these issues was like getting directions to a black hole. yes, it takes 3 votes.Now hurry up finance meetings..Why, to pay money to someone who is shady to say the least, before more bean’s are spilled. Meetings in AM and early afternoon.They had the Buzz word transparent government when the Davis/Mann camp left. That came in un-spades.Now the Buzz is Moving Forward.No lights, Now camera’s, No people attending. Oh gosh the community was at work. .No accountability. Name call, Blame call. Still OCSD at it’s finest.Angelo was asked to step down once and refused. That look’s like that may cost the community 80K’s.Moving forward, why has that not been addressed in public.In a thrust for good judgment, AND credibility. considering recent disclosures. Angelo should step down.It’s clear she has compromised herself and the District.

What a mess. Monte is looking more dirty by the day and once again this shouldn’t surprise anyone. I hope for Oceano’s sake that Angelo isn’t dirty as well. I can’t believe that she would sign off on something if she knew it was fraudulent or illegal, I just don’t know what her motive would be so I’ll still giver her the benefit of the doubt.

Don’t bet on it. According to court documents, she was seated illegally on the board and later was selected by the board. Her husband sits in the audience and with hand gestures tells her what vote she should make, up or down. If her own husband thinks she is so stupid that she can’t remember what he already told her to do, that is proof enough she should be removed from the OCSD Board. Also, one might mention a signature of her’s on documents, which she now says she can’t remember signing for Monte.

Her husband was involved in what a Federal judge called a “sham.”

DuneDude your post is so “stupid” I don’t know where to begin. Angello was seated on the board and then there was an ELECTION and she RAN for the seat. All you people that just cannot move on and keep dragging up “illegal appointment” should have ran against her. No one did. Why? Afraid she would beat you? Oh , heck yes. One of the biggest haters waited until Hill and his friend bailed to try to get appointed on the board so as not to have to put themselves out to the public for an election. Pitiful. Lori’s husband is not able to attend meetings so is not in the audience giving hand gestures. Lori is not stupid. The signature on the letter was brought up in the last meeting and that big “scandal’ all you haters are trying to make out if it is moot. The Federal judge and “sham” what a laugh, completely 100% false.Like I said, you should have ran for the board and removed Lori, but cowards don’t do the right thing, they just sit and blog lies to make themselves feel better for their shortcomings, the old story, tear someone else down to make yourself look good.

In this article she says she doesn’t remember signing the document. In another document she say she signed it in order to move the district forward. Which statement is the lie? What about when she signed it, why did she say anything? What a Weiner.