Oceano officials abandon ship

July 2, 2013
Felma Hurdle

Felma Hurdle

Another Oceano Community Services District Board member has resigned and the attorney firm representing the district has stepped away.

Felma Hurdle sent a letter of resignation to the district on June 21 saying that it is in her best interest to “step aside.”

The board appointed Hurdle and Rick Searcy in 2011 to replace former board members Jim Hill and Carole Henson who resigned because of disagreements with then district manager Raffaele Montemurro. Searcy then resigned in May 2012 following an arrest for drunk driving.

Last week, the district board voted to appoint a replacement for Hurdle.

The board is also looking for new legal counsel after the law firm of Hall, Hieatt & Connely informed the district they will no longer serve as its legal counsel. The announcement was made shortly after CalCoastNews reported the firm was charging the district for doing background checks on activists who questioned former district manager Tom Geaslen’s actions.

The district is also looking for a new general manager. In April, the board voted to terminate Geaslen for cause. The board agreed in writing not to discuss the reasons for Geaslen’s termination if he paid the district back $36,962.




  1. NorthCountyDude says:

    To prevent this mess it’s time Oceano does what it needs to do to consolidate. Probably into AG or Grover Beach. Maybe Oceano joining Grover will help end Grover’s financial woes.

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
    • bigdaddy says:

      That is what they want, take Oceano to make Grover the beach town they call themselves. Oceano does not need Grover, Grover needs Oceano’s assets and land to make their city’s financial woes go away.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • NorthCountyDude says:

        Really now you think that? Grover is building a beach-side hotel and convention center. That should bring in some nice businesses and financial success to Grover without Oceano. Oceano would get better police, better planning, and better infrastructure. No one wants to live in Oceano right now. It’s the mini-Westside Santa Maria in Five Cities. An even better idea if Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and Oceano all consolidating into one. It would save tax payers money by consolidating services.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. MaryMalone says:

    I hope this is another step in clearing out the debris necessary for OCSD to get itself back on track.

    (8) 20 Total Votes - 14 up - 6 down
    • Ben Daho says:

      Describe “back on track” I watched that T.V. show for comedy relief. a Board member was accused of not paying the taxes on her lots.. Her reply was “If you’re going to ask me, you you have to ask everyone” Bam. Conversation stopped.

      (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        I guess I would describe a “track” for a CSD would be one which had all of its essential maintenance on fire hydrants up to date (and not 10 years behind) so that, if a fire occurred in front of a home the firefighters would be able to hook up their equipment and turn the valve without it breaking off, leaving the home and its occupants at real risk of being burnt to cinders.

        You know….like that.

        (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
  3. Pelican1 says:

    Sound the general alarm! Sound the general alarm! Abandon ship,! Abandon ship. We can no longer rearrange the deck chairs on the RMS. OCSD..As the band plays on………

    (13) 25 Total Votes - 19 up - 6 down
  4. CherieMcKee says:

    What is the status of the Geaslen mess? So what if the guy paid the district back. It’s wrong to have more money than one’s contract allows for. Whatthehell happened there? When will the district explain to the public where their money went and how it was possible for someone to take advantage of them (as apparently has happened time and time again).

    Mary Lucey seems to be the only common denominator, she’s been there the longest. Seriously! Elected in 2008 she’s been there longer than every staff member and all directors. Audits went by the wayside and budgets were non-existent.

    She was lapping up the Koolaid as it was poured from the ‘Fountain of Geaslen.’ Clearly the money from the water rate increases is gone — with no system improvements to show for it. She mismanaged her copy store business, losing it.

    What good is she on the OCSD?

    Note to Mary: Take a page from Felma’s book, ride off into the retirement sunset on the back of your Harley.

    (17) 41 Total Votes - 29 up - 12 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      One of the issues encumbering the OCSD from really benefiting from getting rid of Geaslen is that they really did not obtain justice for the ratepayers for Geaslen’s financial and other improprieties during his reign as general manager for OCSD. Geaslen lost his job and had to pay back some of the money he inappropriately paid himself with OCSD funds, but he was otherwise not inconvenienced one bit.

      This can only embolden future GMs to, as did Geaslen and prior OCSD general managers, use the OCSD as their personal piggy-bank and OCSD-rate-payer ego-booster, and abusing the power of the GM position to obtain petty retribution on members of the public who dare to call out the GM when he is wrong.

      OCSD has had such a bad string of things happen, with so many scandals and unworthy/corrupt GMs, they almost have to plan to do everything opposite from how they did it before.

      From allowing the GM to speak disrespectfully to members of the audience (with members of the OCSD board chiming in!) to taking a nail-balls-to-the-wall repercussions for any future GM who tries to pull a Geaslen, there has to be some drastic change in how the OCSD board of directors conducts the district’s business.

      If the OCSD BOD could just do one thing–correctly conduct business under the state open-meeting and access-to-public-records regulations–it would exclude the possibility of the rewould not be able to occur again.

      I was delighted to learn OCSD’s legal counsel had resigned as many of OCSD’s current problems can be traced back to inept legal advice.

      I really hope OCSD diligently evaluates the possibilities for new legal counsel. Legal counsel experienced in advising officials of community services districts will be able to appropriately advise the OCSD BOD and GM such that the OCSD’s officials will not continue to create more avoidable problems for themselves and their ratepayers.

      (-3) 19 Total Votes - 8 up - 11 down
  5. StatusQuoJoe says:

    BTW, the OCSD is taking applications to replace Felma until July 12, they will hold a Sat., July 13, Special Meeting to interview and make the appointment the next day.

    Would love to see some qualified competition over the revolving door of friends, family and plants that have moved through there in recent years.

    Someone with some money sense. The place has been picked clean.

    (15) 29 Total Votes - 22 up - 7 down
    • StatusQuoJoe says:

      Appoint on the Sat.

      (-9) 11 Total Votes - 1 up - 10 down
    • WiserGuy says:

      With all due respect, Joe, considering you have been a vicious critic of the OCSD Board and have continually acted like you know how to run the district so much better and have all the answers, why aren’t YOU applying?

      (15) 19 Total Votes - 17 up - 2 down
      • bigdaddy says:

        Because “Joe” aka Jeff lives in Los Osos.

        (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
        • WiserGuy says:

          Is that true, “Joe”?

          (13) 15 Total Votes - 14 up - 1 down
          • StatusQuoJoe says:

            Oh Philo,
            I live right around the corner from you…my name is Joe.

            (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
            • WiserGuy says:

              I doubt you live around the corner from me, Joe. But in any case, if you do live in Oceano, as you claim, why aren’t your applying for a position on the Board?

              (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
              • StatusQuoJoe says:

                If you do, I will.

                (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
                • WiserGuy says:

                  I’m not a vicious, unsympathetic, holier-than-thou, cynical, mean-spirited, know-it-all critic of the board like some who post here are. I support the leadership of Matthew Guerrero.

                  However, I wonder why most of the vicious, unsympathetic, holier-than-thou, cynical, mean-spirited, know-it-all critics of the board don’t step up and apply. I guess for them it is much easier to set on the sidelines and hurl insults while doing nothing productive or constructive, and simply creating a toxic environment for those who do step up.

                  (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
      • CherieMcKee says:

        I have been considering it.

        (-3) 13 Total Votes - 5 up - 8 down
        • CherieMcKee says:

          Or a run for Paul’s seat. Can’t decide.

          (-3) 15 Total Votes - 6 up - 9 down
          • MaryMalone says:

            IMO, the more candidates, the better are the options for appointment.

            And it cannot happen too soon, IMO. The idea of Adam Hill having the additional power of dealing with supervisor Teixeira’s position, considering Adam Hill’s legendary nincompoopery, is unsettling, to say the least.

            (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
  6. StatusQuoJoe says:

    Whaaaat? No more “Felma and the Felons” ? The band really is breaking up.

    Now for Mary Lucey to go.

    South County has had some big changes in the last few months.
    GB=Phyllis Molnar
    OCSD=Chase Martin/Molly Thurmond
    Dist.4=RIP Paul

    Things can only get better. They surely couldn’t get worse.

    (11) 31 Total Votes - 21 up - 10 down

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