SLO County assesses San Simeon attorney’s work, does not pass

May 10, 2021

San Simeon legal counsel Jeffrey Minnery

By KAREN VELIE

In a scathing letter, San Luis Obispo County chastises San Simeon Community Services District’s legal counsel for failing to properly respond to questions about an alleged encroachment and the awarding of non-bid contracts. This nondisclosure could cost the district more than $500,000.

San Simeon CSD began applying for grants for upgrades to its water system in 2016, prompting local watchdog Henry Krzciuk to question the district’s failures to put contracting work out to bid as required by state law and by grant providers. At the time, SLO County Counsel Rita Neal deferred to Sam Simeon’s legal counsel, Jeff Minnery with Adamski, Moroski, Madden, Cumberland & Green, for a determination that bidding was not required.

Late last year, the district’s failures to abide by conflict of interest laws resulted in the district losing $250,000 in grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Ocean Protection Council.

Krzciuk then turned to the State Department of Water Resources, which had awarded a $500,000 grant, to investigate the failure to put that contract out to bid, resulting in the state ordering the county, as administrator of the grant, to conduct an investigation.

On Dec. 21, 2020, the county ordered the district to respond to a lengthy list of questions and records requests regarding three grants the state approved in the past four years. In addition to asking questions about the district’s lack of a competitive bidding process, the county’s questions also focused on the factors that led up to the San Simeon CSD building its water treatment facility on the Hearst Ranch without an easement.

However, instead of responding to questions and providing requested documentation, Minnery said the allegations were premature and under review. Of the 23 requested responses, Minnery fully answered only three.

“Mr. Minnery states ‘the complaint fails for lack of specificity,’ because it fails to cite a law or regulation that was violated and because it incorrectly asserts that competitive bidding is required,” according to a May 6 letter from the SLO County Department of Public Works. “The request does specifically refer to, and request analysis of, Government Code Section 4529.12.”

Governments Code 4529.12 requires that “all architectural and engineering services shall be procured pursuant to a fair, competitive selection process.”

The county gave Minnery and the district until June 11 to provide complete written responses or risk losing more than $500,000 in grant funding.


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shishkabob141

Tim Carmel Jr.


Hank Photo

What is most concerning is that Chair Kellas and General Manager Grace, who control the SSCSD Board agenda, did not place the letter on the agenda for Board discussion this Thursday evening May 12th. The next SSCSD Board Meeting is June 10th, one day before the District’s response is due to the County. Beyond the three minutes of public comments at the beginning of the meeting, there will be no Board review or discussion of the response without a special meeting. It looks to me like they do not want input or review. “They” are going to handle it just like they did with their January 20th response to the County and their prior response to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) investigation — which of course resulted in that grant’s recission along with the matching funds state LCP grant.


Julie
commonsenseguy

This is the same left-wing political hack of an attorney that has his claws in a lot of shading doings including his recent action with IWMA. Maybe the DA. should start taking an interest in his questionable dealings in many things. Where’s P.I. Mike when you need him?