Sanitation district administrator submits false financial report

April 27, 2017

OPINION by RON ARNOLDSEN

South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District’s Administrator Gerhardt Hubner recently submitted a financial report to his board that states an account it has at Rabobank contains $898.00. The account was set up last year when the district began collecting its own rates from Oceano customers when an agreement to have the Oceano CSD collect the funds fell apart.

Hubner’s report says, “As of March 31, 2017, the reconciled cash balance totaled $898.”

When a citizen noted that this report was in error and that the account had been closed, Hubner responded, “We believe the report is accurate based on past reporting spreadsheets we have in possession.” But then goes on to say, “we are aware of that closed account, it’s just a matter of where that money will be transferred to.” He further stated, “We’ve had a number of people look at it.”

He never identifies who “we” are, but as administrator, he is solely responsible for the accuracy of the report.

Arroyo Grande Mayor Hill suggested he had concerns with the report yet cautiously voted with the majority of the board to approve it qualifying his vote, “Based on the assurances of the administrator, yes.”

The county now collects the Oceano wastewater fees so there is no longer a need for a special account for this purpose; closed accounts are zeroed out.

If Hubner was indeed aware that the account was closed, why would his report cite a balance of $898?  Eight hundred and ninety eight dollars is not a tremendous amount of money in the scheme of the district’s annual budget, but does it indicate problems in the districts accounting. Hubner refuses to share his payroll data, and the 2015-16 audit is behind schedule.

Curiously, last month’s mid-year budget review showed year-to-date expenditures as of December were higher then than they are now. Is this fraud or incompetence?

This was the third time in recent weeks that Hubner has contradicted his own written reports during questioning by the board. On April 5 Hubner wrote that the digester cleaning had not been identified as a potential project during budget discussions, but when questioned by Mayor Hill, Hubner admitted that he had discussed the project with the plant superintendent.

Then in an April 19 report concerning the deleted audio tapes from the Wallace years, Hubner’s report suggests the district’s bookkeeper directed the webmaster, “unbeknown to myself, and unauthorized”, to not migrate the old audiotapes to the new website.

The public presented evidence that Hubner had provided signed authorization for the action and that Hubner had authorized the webmasters project notes.

Perhaps more alarming is the fact that the district’s board, who are in place to protect the financial welfare of the district, received these false reports as correct and filed them into the permanent record. This board has made a habit of ignoring Hubner’s incompetency thus exposing the district’s ratepayers to significantly increased expenses.

When will the board hold Hubner accountable?


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fhill123

As a taxpayer I would be thrilled if less than $900 is all that is missing. Our government spends billions of dollars and wastes billions of OUR DOLLARS on a regular basis.


Julie

That money could have paid for a washer and dryer.


StephAnd

Oh no look out he got up and is ready to pounce on his cash target


Greg Wilson

Hubner is a classic example of Dunning-Kruger effect.


The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals (Hubner) suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those with low ability (Hubner), to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their competence accurately.


False confidence can get a low-ability individual (Hubner) high up the ladder. But eventually a low-ability individual (Hubner) will show himself a fool. But as Dunning–Kruger suggests, he will never realize it.


Rate payers deserve competency.


Julie

Greg Wilson, you may be a rocket scientist.


InaFog

The majority of the Cambria CSD Board and the General Manager Jerry Gruber suffer from the same condition. Ratepaayers deserve more. Drain the swamp.


Julie

Ron Arnoldsen served on the Grover Beach City Council 1990-2002–and as its mayor twice. He also served on SLOGOG, SLORTA, APCD, ZONE 3, and the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District during his tenure on the GB Council.


Thank you Mayor Arnoldsen for paying attention and catching the flim-flam of Hubner. The guy can’t keep his stories straight.


I love that you caught the “we”…who is “we”…Clemons and Simpson are out on paid admin leave, who knows the workings of the district better…no one there, certainly NOT Hubner.


Did you catch where he said he had wastewater experience? He doesn’t cite it in his resume, bio or Linkedin…perhaps it really was at Disneyland when he plunged toilets and swept Main Street, USA ;)


And about the who-dunnit about the Wallace tapes, Hubner was informed on how to back up the old website well after the new website went live….https://www.scribd.com/document/346623752/SSLOCSD-HostGator-to-Hubner

He didn’t. He didn’t ask anyone else to. Tapes gone with old website.