Was a whistleblower placed on administrative leave?

April 25, 2017

John Clemons

By KAREN VELIE

Less than a week after the superintendent of the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District reported that the district had violated the districts bylaws and purchasing policy, the administrator placed the superintendent on paid administrative leave.

On March 2, Superintendent John Clemons sent an email to Wendy Stockton, an attorney working for the sanitation district, asking her to look into possible violations of the districts bylaws, purchasing policy and personnel policy. Specifically, Clemons questioned a $40,000 expense for an investigation by an outside firm that was not brought before the board or included in the budget.

“According to District bylaw 7.2, no singular board member can authorize an expenditure like this,” Clemons writes in his email. “This purchasing policy may have been violated in that this item was sole-sourced without board approval. Another concern is that there is currently another investigation being conducted without consideration or funding by the board.”

Gerhardt Hubner

Four days later, on March 6, plant Administrator Gerhardt Hubner placed Clemons on paid administrative leave for reasons he has not yet disclosed to the public or to Clemons.

In addition, in early February, Clemons filed a grievance against Hubner alleging the administrator’s behavior violated the sanitation district’s code of conduct rules. An investigation into that allegation is ongoing.

“The circumstances speak for themselves,” Clemons responded when asked if he felt his complaints led to his forced leave.

Government employees are often placed on paid administrative leave after allegations of criminal activity or questionable events.

Aside from issues with Clemons confrontation between former board member Mary Lucey, her wife Nancy MacNeal and Clemons in early January.

On Dec. 21, outside a sanitation district board meeting, Lucey and MacNeal approached Clemons and Lin Hill allegedly to chastise Clemons for purchasing a washing machine for the plant.

Three witnesses, Clemons, Lin Hill and Ron Arnoldson said that Lucey and MacNeal were screaming at Clemons. Following the altercation, Lin Hill informed the board and sanitation district counsel that Lucey had threatened Clemons, but no action was taken.

Shortly afterwards, Lucey and MacNeal contacted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department and filed a report claiming that Clemons had threatened MacNeal.

After the sheriff’s department looked into MacNeal’s allegation and found no reason to investigate, without seeking board approval or determining the cost, sanitation district board President John Shoals contracted with an outside agency to do an investigation. Shoals did not respond to requests for comment.

Hubner has not responded to questions about the timing of the forced leave, district policy’s regarding paid administrative leave and allegations of possible retaliation.

Meanwhile, the district is paying Clemons approximately $8,500 a month to remain on paid administrative leave while also paying another employee to cover Clemons responsibilities at the plant.







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10 Comments

  1. RonHolt says:

    I am wondering if Mr. Hubner already has a new job waiting for him with Wallace Group.

    (6) 24 Total Votes - 15 up - 9 down
    • kayaknut says:

      With the files he has destroyed it is clear he already is working for Wallace group, trying to help John Wallace before his trial.

      (7) 19 Total Votes - 13 up - 6 down
  2. Snoid says:

    It’s said history repeats itself although a few years isn’t much in the way of history. You had a highly qualified Superintendent with stellar qualifications, who proved he could run the plant and save the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Along comes another administrator who’s specialty is dirt, trained by SLO Co’s scumbag Incorporated, and another is out on paid admin leave with no legitimate reason offered.
    Yeah, yeah, we know ya cant discuss personnel matters will be the excuse. In past years three has been three lost lawsuits against the District and its Administrator costing us millions. What was that definition of insanity again?
    Prepare for round 4 when Mr. Clemons rips Hubner and Cochise a new sphincter.
    All one can say is Go get em John!!!!!!!!!!!

    (4) 28 Total Votes - 16 up - 12 down
  3. ShootTheMessenger says:

    Why Was A Whistle-blower Placed On Administrative Leave?

    BECAUSE THE SOUTH SAN BOARD IS NOT DOING ITS JOB!

    (10) 30 Total Votes - 20 up - 10 down
  4. pensatore says:

    Hubner has the Roger Briggs and Michael Thomas management style.

    (9) 25 Total Votes - 17 up - 8 down
  5. Otis says:

    John Clemons is an outstanding person and a respected professional whose competence is clearly established at the Sanitation District. Board Chairman Shoals should take immediate steps to correct this matter.

    (21) 45 Total Votes - 33 up - 12 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    Achtung! Achtung!
    SS-Obergruppenführer Hubner won’t get away with this…nor will any of his district Hitler youth…past or present.
    What era, and in what country does the sanitation district reside. This is a blatant misuse of authority and public funds.

    (13) 35 Total Votes - 24 up - 11 down
  7. Rich in MB says:

    Is there a clean Sanitation District left in the Entire SLO County?

    Folks…
    How many of these incidents do we need before acknowledging there is a level of corruption in Local Government that is beyond belief.

    (59) 79 Total Votes - 69 up - 10 down

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