Don’t send John Wallace’s excuses to law enforcement
February 3, 2016
OPINION by JULIE TACKER
An open letter to the south San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Board:
It was with great disappointment that I read the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting that includes a presentation by John Wallace to address the Knudsen Report. Mr. Wallace has had many opportunities to explain himself and has on as many occasions.
I have no doubt Mr. Wallace made his case to Mr. Knudsen when interviewed; yet the evidence overwhelmingly suggests Mr. Wallace engaged in unacceptable management practices and malfeasance.
Knudsen’s report tackles many facets of the districts management, but only skims the surface of where, in my opinion, the crux of the matter lies.
Mr. Wallace was the district’s administrator for 27 years. As administrator he was the districts secretary and fiduciary and was required, by his job description, to keep impeccable records to be housed at the district office. Instead, Mr. Wallace kept the district records at his office in San Luis Obispo where he could access them as needed for his convenience.
At the end of his service to the district in 2013, before returning the records, Mr. Wallace charged $98.00 an hour to “review” them, but only after his staff of administrative assistants and engineers billed $42 to $108 per hour over several months to purge, gut, catalog, label and box the 56 boxes of records at nearly $20,000.
According to Knudsen, the records were unkempt and pages were missing. There was no inventory kept of the records, so it impossible to know what is missing. The Knutson Report refers to an infamous quote made by the current director of the FBI saying “We don’t know what we don’t know.”
At the Jan. 20 board meeting, Director Matt Guerrero asked Knudsen if his report identified any fraud, Guerrero reported to Oceano Community services District Board on Jan. 27 that no fraud had been found.
In light of the most recent evidence associated with FEMA funds, in their letter addressed to Jeremy Fruend, a Wallace Group employee. Mr. Wallace was asking for funds to repair pre-existing conditions at the plant and for ineligible projects; this is federal money and this is fraud.
Mr. Wallace is attending your board meeting only to put his spin on what Knudsen has revealed.
Do not turn your back on the ratepayers of your district who paid Mr. Wallace millions of dollars over 27 years and will pay into the future through rate increases for projects that should have built long ago and the $90,000 Mr. Knudsen has been paid for his report.
Do not include Mr. Wallace’s presentation in the material your board sends to law enforcement. Your agenda item does not suggest any action will be taken with this regard, you would have to re-agendize that action for another meeting.
If law enforcement is interested in Mr. Wallace’s side of the story, surely they will subpoena him.