Wallace Group no-bid contract on lame duck agenda

November 24, 2014
Mayor Tony Ferrara

Mayor Tony Ferrara


Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara is slated to give a no-bid contract to two engineering firms for consulting services before he gives up power over the city’s agenda and council.

Tuesday’s Arroyo Grande City Council meeting marks the final council schedule and meeting Ferrara will control. The 10th item on a packed consent agenda is a proposed six-month extension of a two year contract for both the Wallace Group and Water Systems Consulting.

Though the agenda says there is no cost involved in extending the two agreements for on-call engineering services, in the past 12 months the city has paid the firms over $200,000. From Dec. 1 through Nov. 30, the city paid Wallace Group $110,564 and Water Systems Consulting $91,518, according to city records.

Ferrara came under fire this summer after allegations he attempted to coverup an alleged sex scandal between then city manager Steve Adams and a subordinate employee. Ferrara and Adams later claimed police officers lied about an incident involving Adams and the subordinate in an attempt to manipulate salary negotiations.

John Wallace

John Wallace

In addition to allegations of a coverup, questions about mismanagement and waste of public funds resulted in Ferrara being unseated after 16 years on the council.

In particular, the public questioned Ferarra’s leadership role on the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Board. The sanitation district serves the residents of the Oceano Community Service District, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach and is governed by a three person board consisting of one representative from each community.

In 2012, the state water board determined that a more than 384,000 sewage spill was due to careless and improper maintenance of the district by its administrator John Wallace and his engineering firm the Wallace Group. The state then levied a $1.1 million fine.

Ferrara stood by Wallace and the Wallace Group claiming a San Luis Obispo Grand Jury report that found a conflict of interest in Wallace’s administration of the plant was faulty and arguing against the state water board’s findings of mismanagement.

In Feb. 2013, amid demands for a complete audit of Wallace’s financial management, Wallace resigned as administrator of the sanitation district.

Before he stepped down, the sanitation district regularly exceeded its more than $6 million annual budget. Under a new administrator, the district’s costs are less than 50 percent of its budget, district records show.

Tuesdays Arroyo Grande City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the council chambers at 215 E. Branch Street.

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  1. anonymousgroverbeach says:

    Can someone please explain to me why the City is hiring once again a company(Wallace group) that has already proven itself incapable of many things. Not only is the Wallace group incapable of consulting, it has proven itself through the south sanitation district spill back in 2010 that it, as well as it owner John Wallace, are filled with corruption and lack the ability to manage. In fact the Wallace Group has been found guilty of Mismanagement and fraud, so why are we hiring them AGAIN to cost us money once again.

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

      Just a minor correction, it is not the city hiring John Wallace and company, it is Mayor Ferrara, Jim Guthrie, Kristen Barneich, Joe Costello and Tim Brown that is hiring him. Not a single citizen spoke in favor of it. As for Guthrie, Barneich, and Costello it was clear they are just doing as Ferrara wanted, Possibly Brown too, and as for the mayor it was just a parting gift for his buddy. At least it was cut to a 3 month gift, after that we can finally say goodbye to Wallace.

      (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        The problem with that “three-month gift” is the amount of charges a scamming company like the Wallace Group can stack up in just three months.

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
        • kayaknut says:

          True enough, but now with Jim Hill being sworn in Monday we hopefully can expect a lot more scrutiny on invoices submitted for payment, and unlike the one from the city attorney that did not itemize and Ferrara and company just okayed with a nod and handshake, the new council will hopefully demand more.

          (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
      • WorkingClass says:

        I don’t want to say goodbye…I want to sue his sorry a** to return all the revenues he stole from the people!

        (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
    • Snoid says:

      Good God, and to think The Wallace group has recently recommended Los Osos get $22 Million in infrastructure upgrades. Naturally the upgrades will be designed,engineered and managed by Wallace, under the legal advice of Mr. Mike Shitz, the LOCSD legal adviser. You thought the sewer was a unnecessary mess, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha…, when this gets rollin the place will have to be rename Ghost Oso’s after everybody is bankrupted and forced to move somewhere with running water and flush toilets.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    We close our eyes
    Only for a moment and the moment’s gone
    All our dreams
    Pass before our eyes with curiosity

    Tony is dust in the wind
    All he is, is dust in the wind

    Same old song
    He’s just a drop of water in an endless sea
    All he did to cover-up
    Crumbles to the ground, for all of us to see

    (Aa aa aa)
    Dust in the wind
    Tony is just dust in the wind

    Now Tony don’t hang on
    Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
    It slips away
    And all your money won’t another minute buy

    Dust in the wind
    All you are is dust in the wind
    (All you are is dust in the wind)

    Dust in the wind
    (Nothing but dust in the wind)
    Nothing dust in the wind
    (In the wind)


    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  3. Big Tony says:

    Allright……were gonna get somethings straightened out here.

    Crazy Cat Ladys and Fringer comments will no longer be tolerated while I’m Mayor (and that aint over till Friday).

    As I reflect back on the election and all of the people involved who’ve either helped or hindered my CAUSE, I’d like to offer a few parting comments.

    First off, let’s talk about this “LeAnn” (aka Little Miss Troublemaker) character. Is it just me or does she really, truly, not like me? I’m a nice guy. I have awesome hair and and an even awesomer tan. What’s not to like about me? I guess some haters are just gonna hate. By the way….are you single? I’ve got a Match.com account and I REALLY dig aggressive women….

    Next up let’s talk about this “VAndrews” poster. Listen up lady, I was in Law Enforcement too, and it plainly clear and obvious that you do not have the mental stability to be employed in a position of public safety. I’ve really enjoyed watching the veins pulse in your forehead when you were making public comments. I was really hoping your head would explode during some of your more….”animated” public comment periods. I laugh at your lack of composure. perhaps you should go back to sensitivity training.

    Mr. Video Camera Guy. I hate you. I hate having that camera shoved up in my grill. I hate the high def video and how it shows my wrinkles and overly large pores in my nose-skin. I fart in your general direction. If Annibali would have grown a set he would thrown you out like I asked him too. I never did like him.

    And finally, He Who Shall Not Be Named (aka Otis Page). I’d like to drag your wrinkled old ass out behind Ralph and Duanes and then the neighbors would really have a justified noise complaint. I’d like to do that, but your kinda feisty for an old guy, and I’d hate to have you beat my ass.

    In closing…….some may say I’m bitter. I’m want to assure all of you…….THERE WAS NO COVER UP (oops, wrong crib notes)…….ummmmm…….I want to assure all of you that I’m NOT BITTER.

    (if i ever see that numbnutz Stevie out on the street we’re gonna get a few things straightened out.).


    You can all bite me.

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  4. kayaknut says:

    Also liked his comment at the end when he said if he had to do it over again he would do everything the same, I have news for him if we had to do it over again we would still vote him out of office.

    (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
  5. MaryMalone says:

    The photo of Ferrara accompanying this story, with his face orange tan, reminds me of an evil Ooompa-Loompa.

    (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
  6. agag1 says:

    Just when you thought this story couldn’t get ant better—Ferrara resigns.
    Tony did not fail to disappoint.

    (24) 26 Total Votes - 25 up - 1 down
    • rdh7 says:

      Right down to his last act, Ferrara has it his way by slamming Brown and Guthrie for their well founded remarks on his (Ferrara’s) hesitancy to bring what should be public matters to the Council (i.e, the public). Then, Ferrara spits in the face of our fine city, by resigning so the Pro Tem will preside over installation of the newly elected Officers. What a shameful, cowardly act you will be remembered for Mr. Mayor.

      Prophetic words were spoken in council chambers this fall: “… by your own or by the ballot, you must go …” We’re delighted you did. Good riddance.

      (20) 24 Total Votes - 22 up - 2 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        I think it is quite telling that one item in Ferrara’s last performance was to give his pal, John Wallace, and official hand-job by ensuring there was some extension of the contract.

        (9) 15 Total Votes - 12 up - 3 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      I took a break from working on a project to watch the meeting, but didn’t continue watching after the Wallace vote.

      I certainly wish I had…to say the least.

      Does anyone remember what he said?

      (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
      • agag1 says:

        You’re going to have to see it to believe it,
        even those in attendance are going to need another look-see to grasp it.

        (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down

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