Sanitation district board’s failures costing rate payers

July 2, 2017

Ron Arnoldsen


At the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Board meeting on June 21, Chair John Shoals said that he relies on the advice of “professionals” when making decisions.

We are on a similar course in comparison to the “Wallace years.” I believe the “Wallace years” board members did rely on the “professionals”– the only problem was it was the “Wallace Group” owned and operated by John Wallace.  Mr. Wallace was very competent and knowledgeable while the current district administrator is neither competent nor knowledgeable.

Whether Mr. Wallace was ethical and honest is still to be determined by a court of law.

There is a lesson to be learned here. The responsibility of the board members is to educate themselves to the best of their ability and try to understand the processes they are entrusted to prevail over. It is their responsibility to ask questions and be a “devil’s advocate” when necessary for the protection of their constituents.

By being a devil’s advocate you show your constituents that you have done your homework and have their best interest at heart. If you are a rubber stamp without a concern for fiduciary responsibilities; do not accept the responsibility of being an elected official.

Members of the public have been forthcoming with evidence of incompetence, unethical behavior and untruths with respect to the current district administrator. It is the responsibility of board members to take testimony of the public seriously. It is the board member’s responsibility to question these facts and prove or disprove them.

If the district administrator is in control of the directors, there is no need for a board.

The district administrator serves at the pleasure of the board, not the other way around. The board should take his advice, but not be under his spell.

Yes, it is admirable to rely on the expertise of our paid staff, however blind allegiance is a fool’s sortie.

Mr. Shoals why not take your own advice? Why not follow the advice of the John Clemons our Plant Superintendent? Mr. Clemons is the “professional” with the greatest expertise at the district, however he has been placed on “paid administrative leave” without cause for four months.

This is like benching your best point guard during the NBA finals. Mr. Clemons was not involved in the budget process. He is the only true expert/professional at the District. He knows the plant inside and out.

Mr. Clemons could have fielded questions on the budget that the District Administrator could not answer in seconds.

I find it interesting that the person presenting the budget together couldn’t answer all the questions raised concerning the budget.

Admit it Mr. Shoals, you and Linda Austin are in the district administrator’s pocket. You are rubber stamps. You are not listening to the public or any “professionals” other than Mr. Hubner. Your blind allegiance is very costly to the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District.

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FAILURE of government in general is costing all of us!!!!!

Shoals relies on the advice of professional. This is government and politicians way of putting the decision making on the shoulders of others. Mr. Hill seems to be able to look at the numbers and make a decision. Obviously he is qualified for his position wheras Shoals is just another government thinker, along with PG&E, who spends all of the “free” money on anything that will produce votes.

In watching the budget discussion at the last meeting, one has to be impressed with Mayor Hill’s thoughtful consideration of each expense and his attention to the recent rate increase. He specified exactly how those monies are to be tracked and spent.

All three communities benefit from his attention to detail and analytical mind. He shaped that budget to make legal bills come back to the board as they progress. In light of this past years $200K on lawyers, this is a measured approach verses the run-away freight train fueled by Hubner’s incompetence is necessary to keep from deficit spending.

Once again, good job Mayor Hill!

Government “service” = incompetence with a license to steal.

Well said!! It’s time to drain THE SWAMP!!!

Shoals,Hill,Potholes, Pot, Stinky stuff. How have these two been able to look any one in the eye of this district. God, I am soooooo lucky to get out of Grover. Leeches.

Spot on, Ron!

Dr. Arnoldsen, you are well qualified to offer words of wisdom. When you served on the Sanitation District board the District built strong reserves and lived within its budget. Shoals and Austin, whether arrogant, or stubborn, or both, are the common denominators for failure as if determined to repeat past errors.

In his 15 years on the Grover Beach Council, many as Mayor, Shoals has never initiated a project that he managed to complete. His Five Cities Fire Authority was a good plan but foisted on the public with no funding plan that dogs it 10 years on. His grandiose hotel and fiber optics have languished his whole term. Shoals paraded his elections on the promise of “fixing” Grover Streets, but he wasn’t the mayor who passed the bond to do just that.

Austin blindly perpetuates the dysfunction of her Oceano Communities Service District colleagues, who cannot hire an administrator who doesn’t steal, either overtly, or by exploiting the board’s anemic judgement to extract a $300,000 annual package to manage a tiny water district of only 7,000 residents.

Their heedless allegiance to John Wallace and protestations of not pursuing the “witch hunt” of Wallace’s 10 year run on the District’s funds has steered them to allow the Sanitation District administrator to commit a real “witch hunt” of the one Arroyo Grande leader who has been unafraid to speak out.