Water board chastises South County sanitation district

June 6, 2017

Gerhardt Hubner

By KAREN VELIE

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board chastised South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Administrator Gerhardt Hubner for deceiving the board and for a lack of transparency in a May 31 letter. Hubner appears to have misrepresented details regarding a more than $1.19 million settlement levied because of a 2010 sewage spill.

After battling not to pay the fine for four years, in Aug. 2016 the board agreed to the $1.19 million dollar fine. Of that amount, the district was permitted to use a portion of the fine to construct new plant improvements.

During the July 2016 settlement negotiations, Hubner suggested a grit removal project which reduced the cash fine by approximately $222,000. However, Hubner, who had worked for the water board for 15 years, knew the district began working on the grit removal project in May 2016 while he negotiated the settlement.

Even though the district deceived the water board, the state said the grit removal systems completion satisfied the sanitation district’s fine requirements. However, in the future the board will no longer allow the district to submit projects already in the pipeline.

“During settlement negotiations, Central Coast Water Board staff was not aware that this project had already begun, and district management did not provide adequate transparency regarding the project’s status,”  the water board says in its letter. “For any future settlements, the Central Coast Water Board will not accept any proposed enhanced compliance actions which have already been scheduled to be completed or already initiated.”

On June 7, Hubner plans to asks the board to approve a shared agreement with the City of Pismo Beach for a water sustainability project, according to the staff report. Hubner contends the board can pay for the shared agreement with money he saved by having the water board fine fund the grit removal system.

“Staff proposes to utilize the cost saving obtained from completing its enhanced compliance project (grit removal system) under the settlement order with the Regional Water Quality Control Board,” Huber writes in the board packet. “That saving equated to $221,962.56, since the district’s already was committed to funding and completing the grit removal system project through inclusion of a line item in the adopted budget for FY 2016-17.”


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Julie

Hubner’s pattern of lies is becoming quite apparent.


The district dodged a bullet for now. The water board could have denied the “credit” for that $222,000 and/or taken them back to court over it and run up the legal bills even more. This deception will not bode well when they ask for the $22M loan they need from the State Revolving Fund…administered by (guess who) the State Water Resources Control Board. If they fail to get that low interest (2-3%) and are forced to the bond market, this shifty little maneuver will cost millions in interest over 20-30 years (whatever the term of the bond is). Looking for any clean water grants? Guess who funds those? Yep, SWRCB — DOH!!!


The ratepayers will suffer the collateral damage of Hubner’s short tenure (3 year contract) for a long long time. They should cut their losses now, before his lifetime benefit package kicks in.


analyticone

I suspect the Water Board did so out of empathy for the ratepayers. Mayor Hill, Former Mayor Peterson, and several whistleblowers and ratepayers made impassioned pleas to the Water Board, all the way up the line to the State Attorney General, asking that the ratepayers be spared because no matter how many times they attempted to turn things around starting in 2002, the corruption and asset stripping continues, as the District Attorney, Attorney General, Water Board, Grand Jury, and Carl Knudsen know all too well.


Hubner and Shoals claim the victory and accolades of settling the $1.1m fine and initiating the Redundancy and Reclamation Projects, when in reality, Shoals and cronies stalled for over a decade while they siphoned off $11m of the reserves set aside for the Projects. Then they blocked the fine settlement for 7 years in an attempt to beat the statute of limitations and keep their benefactor Wallace afloat.


In fact, the Reclamation Project was championed by Mayor Peterson and Superintendent John Clemons starting in 2013 when they began lobbying for the participation of the sewer plant county and statewide. Let’s hope our county’s judges can be trusted to prosecute.


pensatore

Aka Manah vs. Agares


ruinitforeveryone

Hi I’m a pot, you;re a kettle.


Pelican1

Furhur Hubner, Your attempt to employ your version of the enigma machine to fool your former employer has failed miserably.

Remember Stalingrad you dummkopf!


kayaknut

Ans yet Mayor Shoals stands by his man, proud of him Grover Beach?


horse_soldier

So much for the ratepayers catching a break when Ms. Lucey left the board.

She was simply replaced by someone equally as ineffective and unwilling to represent the ratepayers. Ms Austin needs to step up and admit the board erred in hiring Hubner and cut him loose.

One look at the monthly financial statements is all the proof needed. It’s all there in black and white, or since Hubner’s arrival, a sea of RED. Wake up!

There’s no hope for Mayor Shoals.

What a disappointment.


analyticone

Ms. Lucey never left. She’s at every meeting, except during toke breaks or when stopped by the police en route to the meetings, just as she and Matt Guerrero were when they were tag teaming their participation on the Sanitation District board.


Watch the videos of the meetings over the course of the past two years and you will see many Mary HalLuceynations. She continues to misunderstand, lie, and accuse members of the public who come to speak of being diversionaries, racists, and drunks.


Mary Lucey has a frightening hold on Linda Don’t-Rock-the-Boat Austin, a kind and experienced businesswoman who seems unable to exercise discernment where her friend, Lucey is concerned. Or maybe she just can’t handle the brouhaha that it would set up if she ever started thinking for herself or countered Lucey.


All the more sad for the community she loves and the districts she was elected to serve.


rukidding

Big project that had to approved by more than one person somewhere? The mushrooms must have been feeding at the time. How does the misuse of taxpayer funds like this just keep going on and on and nobody is ever held accountable?

I believe that it may be called CORRUPTION. Hello anybody out there who cares?


discloser

This little fabrication is just a drop in the bucket but the bucket is very full because Hubner seems unable to do otherwise. Watch and you will catch him out time after time.


Snoid

Mr. Clemons had and has performed many upgrades, some completed or in the works long before Hubner ever showed up. Hubner has NO wastewater experience, that’s documented. Now this schmuck is trying to claim he is the one behind these projects and lay claim to his worth. Ha,ha, funny chit there cause your’re worthless Hubner and you are the weak link preventing the 5 cities from moving forward with a successful groundwater recharge reclamation facility. Mark my words folks as Hubner takes his lifetime benefit package and disappears with our tax money., Shit can this guy NOW before its to late, no severance package, jut a boot in the arse.