Oceano appoints interim general manager

June 17, 2013
Gary Keefe

Gary Keefe

The Oceano Services District Board of Directors appointed an interim general manager last week to replace the Tom Geaslen, who was recently terminated for cause.

Former City Administrator of Lompoc Gary Keefe will serve as district general manager until the board finds a full-time replacement. Keefe will receive a salary of $54 an hour.

Last month, the board fired Geaslen and ordered him to repay the district $36,962. The board and Geaslen agreed not to discuss the nature of the dispute or make disparaging comments about the other party.

Geaslen’s firing came amid a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office investigation into allegations that the former general manager committed perjury when he claimed he was an IRS-approved enrolled agent on a Form 700 statement of economic interest he signed under the penalty of perjury.

Prior to Geaslen’s hire, the board fired his predecessor Raffaele Montemurro without cause.

Keefe served as city administrator of Lompoc from 2002 to 2008, when he retired. He currently serves as a commissioner to the Santa Barbara County Human Services Commission and the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Commission.

“We are honored that Mr. Keefe was willing to step in and assist our district while we work to find the right person for the permanent general manager position,” board vice president Mary Lucey said. “We are looking forward to working with Mr. Keefe and continuing the work of moving this district in the right direction.”


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Is there any update to this story about the Oceano general manager being investigated. Where did that story come from? I couldn’t find it anyplace else but here.

The article says the sheriff’s office is investigating Geaslen. Is that related to his leaving the district? Where did that information come from?

The board and Geaslen agreed not to discuss the nature of the dispute or make disparaging comments about the other party.

I love open government. A Board, established by the public to serve at the public’s interest has no interest serving the public… I see. Or maybe people in that community have no interest. I met a girl, born and raised in Oceano, who had no idea there was anything going on with the OCSD. So much for an informed public…


There are serious problems in our little hamlet. The Monte/Geas years has put our water fund nearly a $million$ bucks in the hole. Even the board was in the dark. They were told over and over there was money. The rate increase should have gone to infrastructure improvements, instead it went to fat salaries, new personnel, and apparently stuffed in Geaslen’s mattress. But, we can’t talk about that. We want to move forward with smiles on our faces, while we stab the ratepayers in the back…raising rates is in the near term for both OCSD and the sewer plant.

There were problems with the operation of the water system and the accounting of it for YEARS prior to the “Monte/Geas” years. It was only during the “Monte/Geas” years that the legacy of those problems became apparent to significant numbers of the public.

I think it is in the interest of some people from past regimes to try to put all the blame on the most recent hires who stepped into a very messy and dark situation. Anyone remember the Davis’s?

Hey WG,

The Davis’s were removed. Monte was working with slim revenues and raised the rates modestly. Geas came in and absorbed all the increase and spent like a drunk’n sailor, mostly on himself, but also buying gadgets and gizmo’s, acting like the OCSD was the Chamber of Commerce.

Catch all the t-shirts, even office staff wears embroidered logos.

That’s my water bill money paying for that. I don’t appreciate it.

Wonder if they’ll run a background check.

The salary seems within reason. Especially if he’s not there full time, this will be a help to the struggling district’s budget shortfall…funds walked out in Geaslen’s pocket, right under the board’s nose.

i assume that is a step in the right direction

It is. You bring in a guy (or gal) with nothing to lose, already has a pension and limited to 1,000 hours per year, and tell the truth. The horridly corrupt City of Bell hired a retired SLO City administrator for the same purpose and his experiences were well documented by LA Times articles.

Is this the same City of SLO Manager that upped everyone’s pensions, took PERS costs from 00.00 to $10 million dollars and now draws a $156,000 annual pensions from PERS himself. Yea, no corruption there!