Oceano board gives general manager vote of confidence

December 30, 2013
Lonnie Curtis

Lonnie Curtis

The Oceano Community Services District Board of Directors voted in a special closed session meeting last week to keep embattled General Manager Lonnie Curtis

On Dec. 23, the board met solely to conduct an evaluation of Curtis’s performance. The performance review was the second in twelve days and the third since Curtis took over as general manager on October 15.

During closed session, Director Karen White motioned to give Curtis a vote of confidence and instruct him to proceed with district business as general manager. The board voted 4-1 in support of Curtis, with Director Jennifer Blackburn dissenting, according to the meeting minutes.

Standard practice calls for agencies to withhold publishing meeting minutes until adopted at a later meeting. However, staff posted the minutes on the district website Thursday, and the next scheduled meeting is in January.

Critics have accused Curtis of violating California’s Ralph M. Brown Act and Public Records Act, as well as of plagiarizing a document.

Curtis took two months to respond to a record request for the job application and writing sample he submitted to the district before acquiring the general manager position. The writing sample he submitted was a PowerPoint presentation created by a colleague of his at a previous job.


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Apparently there is one Board member that can think and does not feel obliged to march in lock step. Good for you Jennifer Blackburn!

Sad to say but…..Ms.Blackburn will probably be bullied out of her seat at some point.


Hang in there Jennifer Backbone!

Perhaps when the Board actually adopts the minutes from this meeting they will attach correspondence received prior to going to Closed Session.

My comments included a very retailed analysis of Mr. Curtis’ performance thus far.

Curtis Timeline

October 9 –OCSD takes action to approve contract.

Board takes action AFTER AGP sent home, violates terms of AGP contract.

October 11 – Tacker requests application package.

October 23 — Curtis’ first meeting.

Late to meeting, distracted by cell phone, ill prepared (i.e. no pen/paper).

November 4 –

Water & Sewer Committee agenda mis-posted as Finance Committee – Meeting Cancelled

November 13 –

No staff reports written by Curtis. Closed Session Violates Brown Act, “Performance Review” is “Planning Session.” Triggers CalAware C&D.

November 22 –

No staff report written by Curtis, no copy of CalAware C&D letter. Nineteen pages of ACWA website info for Water Conference, color copies for all, an all-expense paid trip requested with no financial analysis. Curtis resume says he is “affiliated” with ACWA, yet not a member to receive member rates. Would have had a 9 day Thanksgiving weekend.

December 11 –

Provides Application packet materials to Tacker (2 months after request was made and having been directed by both Legal Counsel and Board President). *See analysis below.

Four(4) postings of agenda.

1. No staff reports written by Curtis.

2. Sunday post (no changes to agenda) adds Election of Officers to “Committee Redirection” item. – Inadequate “correction”.

3. Updated warrants.

4. Special Meeting to add Election of Officers.

At meeting, “Committee Redirection is deferred, “staff report” presented at last minute is copy and pasted from San Diego Water Dist. website.

Ads 2014 master calendar to agenda during meeting. Tries to close office for two weeks during the holidays. Again, violates terms of AGP contract by returning to open session after AGP is sent home.

December 23 – Water and Sewer Committee.

Omits “Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda”– violates Brown Act.

Staff reports are wholly inadequate.

* Analysis of Curtis Application Package, Resume and Writing Sample

o Curtis graduated from high school in 1974

o Graduates from college on June 17, 1989

o No mention of work history from 1974 until 1986

o Professional Engineering license obtained in June 18, 1997

o Professional Engineering license expires December 31, 2013

o Work history begins June of 1986

o Since April 2003 Curtis has worked in the private sector only

o Work as a General Manager of a public agency was only 6 months from 10/02 – 4/03

o How many words per minute do you type? Curtis answers “n/a”.

o Lists Brown Act experience with the RWQCO and Superior Court – neither uses the Brown Act.

*Form 700 – is over redacted, removes cell phone number that is to be accessible 24 hours, as it is paid for by the OCSD and agreed upon in contract approved October 9, 2013.

*Writing Sample – PowerPoint presentation admittedly created by someone other than Mr. Curtis.

says a lot about the board…