SLO County Board of Supervisors takes first step to split from waste agency

April 21, 2021

Supervisor John Peschong


The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors took the first step Tuesday to depart the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) in a 3-2 vote along party lines.

Supervisor John Peschong made a motion to have county staff analyze the financial costs or benefits to the county if it exists the IWMA. Peschong suggested the SLO County’s Public Works Department could take over waste management.

Supervisor Gibson voiced concerns with breaking long-standing alliances with cities and local districts.

“This is part of an ongoing threat to have the county pull out of the Integrated Waste Management Authority,” Gibson said. “It is a profoundly bad idea. As to the motion, I am going to oppose it.”

The board voted 3-2, with supervisors Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg dissenting.

IWMA is a joint powers authority made up of one representative from each of the county’s seven cities, all five members of the SLO County Board of Supervisors, and one representative for the county’s community services districts. The agency was created in the 90s to help its member agencies with a reporting mandate, which ended in Jan. 2020. The IWMA also works to educate the public on recycling and other waste regulations.

Since then, members have utilized IWMA to enact countywide requirements, including a polystyrene ban. Even though the majority of board members voted last week to end the ban, several of the losing voters demanded a super majority vote of the board, which they can do at any time, and the ban remained.

Ordinances already enacted by the IWMA, will not apply to exiting agencies.

During the last two meetings, supervisors Peschong and Arnold voiced plans to pull the county out of the IWMA if they continued to force ordinances on communities they were not elected to represent. Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon agreed, saying Paso Robles would likely exit the IWMA with the county. Officials from two other cities have also noted plans to leave the agency, and work with the county.

In 2018, the SLO County District Attorney’s Office announced it was investigating the IWMA for possible fraud, prompting the board to place the agency’s former manager Bill Worrell on paid administrative leave because of criminal allegations of misuse of public funds. The investigation is ongoing.

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Thank you John, finally! I live on county land and always felt it is wrong for the cities to vote on what should or should not be true for me. Supervisor Bruce Gibson has made the IWMA his power base and that needs to be stopped. The BoS should decide not those unelected city people over what happens to my address.

Well, this is just threat.Sure some questions needs to be answers.why did Tom Omalley, ex atascadero mayor resigned from the board and disapeared from puplic life when the chocolate hit the fan?

waste managment is very important,we need all to be part of it.

I wholeheartedly agree. “Waste management is very important. The IWMA has clearly demonstrated that it cannot control nor manage it’s own wasteful behavior. Why would we continue to trust them to handle anything more?

Good. Glad to hear it. The less the government bureaucracy the better in this case.

I cant think of any instances where more government is better. Hope this is just the start to reducing government

Several years ago IWMA’s management was abusing a credit card to improperly charge personal items and services; when CalCoastNews started poking around, they got sued. A private investigator later discovered (for instance) that more than a half-million dollars was unaccounted for. Other, larger thefts were also uncovered, and maybe, just maybe, DA Dan Dow will finally get on top of this outrageous theft of public money. Or not.

So who is responsible for the Recycling trucks trashing our county?

Has anyone else witnessed the recycling trucks allowing trash to fly up and out of the trucks? I have personally seen trash fly out the top of the recycling trucks. I can’t be the only one!

One nearly caused an accident, as a milk bottle came flying out, hitting the windshield of the car in front of me. She swerved left barely missing another car passing by. The Recycle truck made a right and parked in front of the ocean view on studio drive. I pulled over to tell the driver what I just witnessed. He said he was aware there are no covering on the truck, but he doubted the company would bother to fix the problem.

When I lived in Los Osos, driving to Morro Bay on South Bay, several times I witnessed trash flying out from these trucks and into the estuary. I have called to complain about the issue several times over the past years.. And each time they thanked me for comments. ???

I know all this trash along side the road is not from cars driving by, throwing stuff out the windows. Its from the Recycling trucks. If you look at what it is…its obviously recycling, from our Blue bins!! They have been allowed to litter for years! Not that I would ever consider throwing trash out the window, but IF I had, I would have been fined $1000 right? But these guys get away with it, every day!

Exactly! I’ve been saying this for years, the trash you see along our roadways in places like North Main Street in Morro Bay is coming from the garbage trucks!

If I went down the road with a truck full of trash that wasn’t covered, the CHP would pull me over in a flash and I would be ticketed. The dump isn’t supposed to accept my load of trash unless it’s covered.

Have you ever driven past the Cold Canyon Landfill? The road leading up to it is always littered with trash. Everywhere these garbage trucks go, they leave behind trash.

They should immediately be made to cover those truck openings where the automatic arm dumps the contents of the waste wheelers at least before they take off down the highway at 70 mph.

I sent the IWMA a letter suggesting they get off their asses and do something about the complete lack of recycling places in SLO County. Collecting CRV with no place to redeem your deposit money should be illegal. No response.

I even asked one of the IWMA members about this and he shrugged and said the real problem was China quit buying the recycle materials.

The garbage business is and always will be prime pickings for graft and corruption.

I welcome any movement towards a separation of waste and politics. Pragmatic, lawful and efficient does not need the added cost of emotions when it comes to trash.

FINALLY. We can only hope this leads to the demise of one of these government busy-body, regulation creating, layers of bureaucracy.