Are Seitz’s days numbered in Los Osos?
April 10, 2016
By KAREN VELIE
The Los Osos Community Services District is considering parting ways with longtime district legal counsel Shipsey & Seitz. In 1998, Shipsey & Seitz was first hired to represent the district during its formation.
However, in the past six months, several issues have created concerns about the firm’s performance.
For example, on Nov 6, Sacramento-based attorney Natalie Bocanegra submitted a records request for copies of all of the Los Osos district’s responses to activist Julie Tacker’s public records requests, dating back to Jan. 1, 2012. California rules are clear, once a record is released in response to a public records request, it must be released without content changes to additional applicants.
Nevertheless, even though Michael Seitz had already billed the Los Osos district for reviewing records the district sent to Tacker, Seitz billed the district approximately $1,600 to again review each of the records before sending the same packet on to Bocanegra.
Concerns have also been raised about Seitz’s performance during the investigation and severance of former district general manager Kathy Kivley.
In total, Seitz’s invoices related to Kivley’s personal matter totaled nearly $30,000.
On April 7, the Los Osos district board met in closed session to discuss Seitz’s performance. Following the closed session discussion, the board directed staff to circulate a request for qualifications for new legal counsel.
If removed from his position, this would be the second district to sever ties with Shipsey & Seitz in about a year.
In May, 2015, Seitz announced plans to resign as legal counsel for the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District, shortly after an outside investigator began an audit of the sanitation district’s management practices. Before this, Shipsey & Seitz had served as legal counsel for the sanitation district for approximately 50 years. Nevertheless, Seitz said he resigned because of conflict of interest.