Seitz survives another performance review
February 6, 2015
South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District legal counsel Michael Seitz appears to have the support of the majority of his agency’s board, despite the release of documents showing he gave legal advice that benefitted his own firm while costing ratepayers.
Following a 2010 sewage spill that sent effluent flowing into Oceano homes, Seitz recommended that the district board reject a proposed $400,000 settlement with a regional water board. Instead, Seitz led the board on a costly legal battle that, as of the end of 2012, cost the district $750,000 and has yet to eliminate a $1.1 million fine the agency faces.
The district has paid the legal expenses to Seitz, a team of lawyers and the Wallace Group. John Wallace, the head of the Wallace Group, resigned as sanitation district chief in Feb. 2013 amid allegations of mismanagement and conflict of interest.
Many members of the public are now calling for the district board to fire Seitz.
On Wednesday, the board met in closed session to review Seitz’s performance. The meeting marked the second time that Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill placed a performance review of Seitz on the agenda.
About 30 members of the pubic attended Wednesday’s meeting, and most speakers who addressed the board spoke against Seitz. But, as with the first performance review, the board returned from closed session with a statement that no reportable action occurred.
The sanitation board consists of three members, and it takes two votes to fire the district’s manager or attorney. In addition to Hill, Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals and Oceano CSD President Matt Guerrero serve on the sanitation board.
Both Shoals and Guerrero likely have supported retaining Seitz as the district’s legal counsel. In prior stints on the board, Shoals and Guerrero also defended the actions of Wallace.