John Shoals exposes sanitation district to litigation
September 26, 2016
OPINION by RON ARNOLDSEN
The settlement of the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District’s ongoing issue with the State Water Board has brought calm and clarity to the district, right?
On the contrary, Oceano Community Services District Director Mary Lucey made many false and defamatory statements recently in postings on social media. Mayor of Arroyo Grande, Director Jim Hill asked for censure of Lucey in order to protect the district and several employees who have been libeled by her statements.
The censure was an attempt to correct the false statements concerning the performance of the facility, the performance of district employees and personal attacks on district employees.
John Shoals, Grover Beach mayor and and district chair, presided over the meeting though he was never in control of the meeting. Please go to www.spo-span.org to see this meeting for yourself.
Shoals had the chance to do the right thing and protect the district as well as the district’s employees from potential litigation. However he would not second a motion to censure Lucey.
Shoals has become so polarized in his alliance with Lucey that he cannot put the ratepayers of the district as his first priority. He has the knowledge and tenure concerning the district to know what is the right thing to do. However, he cannot separate his personal alliance with Lucey.
Lucey stated that she has the right to make statements on social media concerning an employee because he is a candidate for public office.
This is definitely not the case when you are a board member of an organization and you are posting personnel and personal information of an employee of the organization.
It would seem clear to me that the district administrator, the district’s legal team and other board members would find this a clear and present threat to the district’s reputation and an invitation to possible litigation.
Additionally, there were two other issues that had caught the blind eye.
1) The district administrator has leased an office trailer and placed it on the district’s grounds without a permit. Wouldn’t you think this would have been an obvious step? Wouldn’t you think legal council would have caught this bonehead move? Wouldn’t you think a “recovering planner” such as Shoals would have caught the mistake or advised ahead of the administrator’s expenditure of district funds?
2) An employee’s email had been leaked to Lucey; protocol is that if one board member receives correspondence from the district, all board members are to receive the same. This violated every security precaution the organization may have. Besides this is ethically disgusting.
It is clear that the sanitation district needs new leadership on its board of director. As mayor of Grover Beach I will put the interest of the rate payers ahead of personal interests.
Ron Arnoldsen is a former Grover Beach mayor who is currently running against John Shoals for the mayor seat.