Mike Seitz resigns from sanitation district

May 21, 2015

sewerBy KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District legal counsel Mike Seitz announced his resignation Wednesday shortly after an outside investigator began an audit of the sanitation district’s management practices.

In his letter of resignation, Seitz said he is stepping down because of impending litigation over water rights between two clients he has represented for decades. Seitz represents the Nipomo Community Services District which is in a disagreement with the Northern Cities Management Area of which the sanitation district shares members.

“It is with regret that I must advise you that I must resign from my position as the district’s legal counsel effective at the conclusion of the June 3 meeting,” Seitz wrote.

Over the past five months, following issues with Seitz following board direction, Hill requested several reviews of Seitz performance and contract.

At a Dec. 17 sanitation district meeting, the board unanimously voted to direct staff to seek a mitigated settlement with the state water board and to place a discussion of the settlement on the next agenda.

After staff failed to follow board direction and agendize the settlement of a $1.1 million fine with the state, the board voted at the first meeting in January to seek a review of Seitz’ performance and contract.

Seitz, who formerly worked as an attorney for the Wallace Group, has supported continuing the legal battle against the state’s fine. If the fine is paid, the district could then seek restitution from John Wallace and his engineering firm The Wallace Group.

In 2010, failures at the sanitation district resulted in 384,000 to 3 million gallons of raw sewage flowing into Oceano homes and the ocean. The water board then determined the spill was the result of mismanagement under Wallace and proposed a $400,000 settlement.

However, the board, at Seitz’ recommendation, elected to engage in a costly legal battle, a fight that the district did not expect to win, according to district records. As a result, by the end of 2012 the board had already paid about $750,000 to the Wallace Group, Seitz, and a team of lawyers to argue against the allegations of mismanagement and the proposed $1.1 million fine.

In addition, when asked about a previous settlement offer, Seitz said the state had never offered a $300,000 settlement, though he claimed the district had made a substantially larger settlement offer to the state. A statement state officials said is untrue.

On May 6, the Sanitation District Board voted unanimously to hire Knudson and Associates to pursue a financial and past managerial review of the last 12 years under Seitz and Wallace’s administration. During that meeting while in closed session, Seitz informed the board that he would be resigning in the near future.


Loading...
don the beachcomber

Debbie Peterson had a lot to do with pushing for this audit. Her valiant efforts exposed corruption at the Sanitation District and saved over $1 million per year. Go Debbie!


justbeware

Debbie picked up the ball after Jim Hill left OCSD, this is not his first SSLOCSD battle.


The ratepayers should be thankful to anyone and everyone who has worked towards transparency and getting to the truth of the matter.


agag1

Hmmmm, a conflict after all this time?

Seitz has represented both entities for years, and the litigation is not new.


More likely, Seitz is uncomfortable with the fire Jim Hill has lit under his chair.

Perhaps general manager Rck Sweet is feeling the heat too?

The dynamic duo has done their level best to delay placing items on the agenda–month after month it’s one excuse after another. Enough!


Bring on that Knudsen investigation, and let’s get to the bottom of this mess once and for all.


kayaknut

More likley Seitz is heading back to his office to warn up his shredder.


OnTheOtherHand

I strongly suspect that there are other more legitimate reasons why Mr. Sweet has not been as quick as some would like. He has been putting in a lot more time on that job than he has been paid to do and can only get so much done given those restraints.


3 putt

HUGE conflict of interest throughout.


SLO_Johnny

I worked with a client several years ago and I had to work with Seitz’s office. They had three speeds; slow, slower, slowest. We had to hire an attorney and threaten legal action just to get some documents. The city council didn’t care when I approached them for help. It’s great to hear that some of this mess is being cleaned up.


Pelican1

Mr. Ferraro, Steve Adams, Tim Carmel, and Seitz, will no doubt form their own ALL gentleman’s club where the can all don their smoking jackets, light up their Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado cigars, sip their Remy Martin Black Pearl Louis XIII – and reminisce

about the good old days.


SLOBIRD

Don’t forget Wallace, he should pay for the treats!


justbeware

Yeah, SOS!


citygirl

GREAT NEWS, Jim Hill seems to be cleaning up a lot of the corruption in the south county.


Got rid of Mr. Ferraro, Steve Adams, Tim Carmel, and Now Seitz, way to go Mr. Hill keep up the good work.


Now Arroyo Grande has a female city attorney and city manager, Girls Power!


Let’s see how the budget goes and if Steve Leiberman gets all the money he hopes to get, or if he gets put in his place also. The only reason Leiberman is fire chief is because of political promises made from the corrupt people now gone, or most of them.


It is nice to have someone who is willing to do the people’s business without an agenda or the ego’s we dealt with for so many years.


kayaknut

A female attorney who reports to Carmel? does this make sense to anyone?


agag1

Carmel has deeply entrenched with Adams, and Ferrara. That was a big part of his problem, his loyalty was to his buddies, not our city.

This new gal has no such ties.

If she goes sideways on us it will be easier to put out a RFP than it was to get Carmel’s resignation.


agag1

Carmel was, not has- – -sorry.


kayaknut

You may be right about Carmel’s loyalty, but the loyalty of the new attorney is whom? her boss, Carmel?


agag1

She was hired to represent the city.

Citizens are paying attention.


kayaknut

Though I wasn’t around back then, but I bet something similar was said in the announcement when Carmel was hired, ” hired to represent the city”, and we all know how wrong that was.


The question still is valid, Why stay with the same law firm, especially when the problem was with one of principal attorneys?


agag1

I’d bet Carmel once represented the city well, just as former mayor Ferrara did. However, we all know the result when residents stop paying close attention, and allow leaders to go unchecked and unchallenged.


kayaknut

Are you trying to blame only the residents for the Ferrara/Carmel/Adams kingdom? I hope not, the blame for years of problems and millions of wasted and stolen tax dollars is totally Ferrara, Carmel and Adams.


MaryMalone

She may have been hired to represent the city, but isn’t that what Carmel was hired to do?


It doesn’t matter what they were hired to do, as long as conflicts of interest are allowed to exist.


Rich in MB

We all know where this is going folks…and at the end of the day Criminal Charges could flow from the Sewer to the Court.


falconbh

After they finish investigation, the next stop is the Oceano Community Services District.


SLOBodan

WoW! This certainly came as a shock! But, it is nice to know that this “cash cow” has ended for both Wallace and Seitz. I just hope the PEOPLE get their day in court and these 2 will have to pay back every penny of the millions they stole.


Can’t wait to see what the Knudson & Associates investigation uncovers!


agag1

SLOBodan,

It’s not a shock to those who know how hard Chair Hill has been pushing for change.

The man has been moving mountains since the election, and will leave no stone unturned.


Many believe he’s just getting warmed up.

Let’s hope Shoals and Guerrero jump onboard.


IronHub

Shoals and Guerrero will jump aboard the HillMobile just to salvage their sorry asses. These two guys are like viruses in that they can’t stand the hot glare of public attention. They preferred the way it was: practicing their graft and collusion in the darkest, dankest corners.